Air Embolism: Endovascular System

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Air embolism is a rare but recognized complication of endovascular procedures, and can involve both the venous and arterial systems. However, in the case of the venous system, low or negative intravascular pressure creates the potential for air to enter the vascular system. Conversely, the higher pressure in the arterial system affords some degree of protection, because bleeding is more likely to occur, decreasing the risk of air entry. When air becomes endovascular, ischemia or infarction may occur if the air embolus reaches an organ with limited or no collateral supply. We review air embolism in the context of interventional radiology, although air embolism can also occur with barotrauma, lung biopsies and during surgical procedures, most
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