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April 1951

DEATHS RELATED TO PNEUMOENCEPHALOGRAPHY DURING A SIX YEAR PERIOD

Author Affiliations

NEW YORK

From the Department of Neurology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Neurological Institute, Presbyterian Hospital.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1951;65(4):463-471. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1951.02320040053004
Abstract

DEATH does not follow pneumoencephalography in normal persons, although air embolism may have been the cause of two deaths reported by King and Otenasek.1 Deaths are known to occur, however, after pneumoencephalography in persons who are not normal. Davidoff and Dyke2 reported nine fatalities in their series of 4,000 cases, a mortality of 0.22 per cent. One of their patients, with a normal pneumoencephalogram, died of a coronary occlusion six hours after the procedure. They concluded that "patients who are likely to succumb to the procedure are those harboring intracranial tumors, aneurysms, or are suffering from arteriosclerotic disease of the brain or elsewhere." They advised ventriculography for patients with clinical signs of increased intracranial pressure and pneumoencephalography for all other patients in need of such a test.

The recent occurrence of deaths following pneumoencephalography at the Neurological Institute of New York suggested a review of the circumstances attending

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