Fatal venous air embolism during emergence from anesthesia

Teng Kuei Hsieh, Ja Ping Hsieh, Ming Chung Lin, Shung Tai Ho, Chung-Hsi Hsing, Jhi Joung Wang, Chin Chen Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe a case of the sudden onset of cardiovascular collapse during emergence from anesthesia resulting from a massive venous air embolism, which was detected by transesophageal echocardiography. We present this case to remind anesthesiologists to be aware of the risk of a sudden return of air trapped in the venous system during emergence from anesthesia. The air is freed because the sympathetic tone is increased, muscle-pumping power is regained, ventilation shifts from positive-pressure to negative-pressure spontaneous ventilation, and the patient is repositioned after surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-142
Number of pages5
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Taiwanica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthesia recovery period: emergence
  • Embolism, air

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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