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April 1962

Cerebral Air Embolism in the Dog

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Neurosurgery, and the Departments of Surgery and Neurology, The Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest College.

Arch Neurol. 1962;6(4):307-316. doi:10.1001/archneur.1962.00450220049008

The problem of air embolism has attracted the attention of many investigators. The literature contains numerous reports of severe neurologic damage or unexpected death occurring during some types of thoracic or abdominal diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.2,4,5,8,21 more recently, operations in the neck during cordotomy, laminectomy, and thyroidectomy have been blamed for air embolization with subsequent neurologic deficits or death.19-21 Obstetricians and gynecologists also have encountered the problem in patients during postpartum kneechest exercises.28 Interest in the danger of air embolism has increased since the advent of open-heart surgery and the use of the artificial oxygenator.24

Experimentally, the effects of air emboli differ greatly, depending on whether they are "venous" (injection usually in femoral or jugular vein) or "arterial" (injection in carotid artery or pulmonary vein). In the case of "venous" embolization, large amounts of air are tolerated by experimental animals, perhaps because of the filtering effect