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.
No neurologic defects were noted. Instead, an apparent all-or-none effect was seen (Table). Those animals
PATE JW, BIRDSONG S. Carotid Air EmbolismAn Experimental Study in Cats. Arch Surg. 1964;89(4):685. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1964.01320040101016