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May 23, 1966

New Catheter Therapy for Air Embolism

JAMA. 1966;196(8):32. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100210018006

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Acatheter inserted into the right heart prior to neurosurgery has been found valuable in rapid treatment of air embolism at the Mayo Clinic.

Although entry of air into the venous system is a potential danger in many instances—from obstetrical emergencies to cardiovascular procedures—the complication particularly concerns neurosurgeons.

Some have abandoned the sitting position in occipital craniectomy, for instance. The dural sinuses and diploic veins if exposed under negative venous pressure will "gulp" air in critical quantities, they have found.

A new treatment procedure for air embolism in this situation was described recently by John D. Michenfelder, MD, and three colleagues from Rochester, Minn.

They are Howard F. Terry, Jr., MD, and Edward F. Daw, MD, both of the Section of Anesthesiology; and Ross H. Miller, MD, Section of Neurologic Surgery.

Pivotal Factors  Pivotal factors are early diagnosis of the heart murmur produced and aspiration of air through the catheter.Under

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