Ventilation-induced massive lethal air embolism and subcutaneous emphysema in a patient with a lung cavern
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Respiratory care. - Dallas, Tex.
, p. E6-E10
University of Antwerp
The simultaneous occurrence of subcutaneous emphysema and intravascular air due to an air embolism is a rare condition. Here, we report a patient with COPD who developed a severe episode of hemoptysis due to rupture of a previously undiagnosed lung cavern. Intubation and ventilation led to the development of both massive subcutaneous emphysema and a massive air embolism, resulting from aspiration of air through a torn pulmonary vessel in the cavern. The dramatic amount of intravenous air and subsequent conduction along the venous system to the right heart and pulmonary trunk caused major hemodynamic compromise and ultimately death. The degree of subcutaneous emphysema, especially the massive venous air embolism, was unprecedented.