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Multiple cerebral infarction and paradoxical air embolism during hepatectomy using the Cavitron Ultrasonic Surgical Aspirator -A case report-

The Korean Society of Anesthesiologists
Publication Date
DOI: 10.4097/kjae.2010.59.s.s133
  • Case Report
  • Medicine


A venous air embolism and paradoxical air embolism (PAE) are serious complications in patients undergoing a hepatectomy. We report a case of PAE and cerebral infarctions in a patient undergoing a hepatic resection using a Cavitron Ultrasonic Surgical Aspirator (CUSA®). A 65-year-old woman underwent a left lobe hepatectomy. During the middle phase of the liver resection with CUSA®, there was a sudden decrease in arterial blood pressure, end-tidal carbon dioxide and SpO2. With resuscitation, intraoperative ultrasonography revealed massive air emboli in both her left and right heart, which lasted for 40 min. The hepatectomy was completed after the disappearance of the air emboli from her heart. After surgery, her mental status was stuporous. The brain CT and MRI revealed multiple acute cerebral infarctions. Finally, she died from septic shock. This case highlights the need for anesthetists and surgeons to be aware of the potential for CUSA®-related massive PAE.

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