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April 15, 1968

Lethal Air Embolism From Plastic Blood-Storage Container

Author Affiliations

From the West Virginia University Medical Center, Morgantown.

JAMA. 1968;204(3):267-269. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140160077026

A 50-year-old man suffered lethal air embolism during a carotid endarterectomy performed with the patient under general anesthesia. The embolized air probably gained access to a plastic blood bag when the administration set which drained the bag was changed during transfusion. The air entering a blood bag during venting was measured as a function of the volume of blood remaining. The greatest volume of air measured was 136 ml which was entrapped in a bag holding 200 ml of blood.