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October 1964

Carotid Air EmbolismAn Experimental Study in Cats

Author Affiliations

Associate Professor of Surgery, Chairman, Thoracic Surgery Section (Dr. Pate); Assistant, Department of Surgery (Dr. Birdsong).; From the Thoracic Surgery Section, University of Tennessee.

Arch Surg. 1964;89(4):685. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1964.01320040101016

Cerebral air embolism is a dreaded complication of cardiac surgery. The usual explanation of this phenomenon is an embolization or "blockage" of small vessels in the brain by rigid bubbles. In order to investigate methods of therapy, it is desirable to reproduce the lesion in experimental animals. Cats were selected since their brains are familiar to neuropathologists.

Materials and Methods  Mixed breed young adult cats, varying from 1.5 to 2.7 kg in weight were used. Under open drop ether anesthesia, the left carotid artery was exposed and occluded proximally with a rubber-shod clamp. A selected dose of air was rapidly injected in the carotid artery distal to the point of occlusion and the clamp removed. After closure of the wounds, the animals were carefully observed for two weeks for gross evidence of neurological deficit.

Results  No neurologic defects were noted. Instead, an apparent all-or-none effect was seen (Table). Those animals

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