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Case Reports in Pulmonology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 416360, 2 pages
Case Report

Cerebral Arterial Air Embolism Associated with Mechanical Ventilation and Deep Tracheal Aspiration

Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, Cumhuriyet University, 58140 Sivas, Turkey

Received 2 April 2012; Accepted 27 June 2012

Academic Editors: A. X. Freire and K. Watanabe

Copyright © 2012 S. Gursoy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Arterial air embolism associated with pulmonary barotrauma has been considered a rare but a well-known complication of mechanical ventilation. A 65-year-old man, who had subarachnoid hemorrhage with Glasgow coma scale of 8, was admitted to intensive care unit and ventilated with the help of mechanical ventilator. Due to the excessive secretions, deep tracheal aspirations were made frequently. GCS decreased from 8–10 to 4-5, and the patient was reevaluated with cranial CT scan. In CT scan, air embolism was detected in the cerebral arteries. The patient deteriorated and spontaneous respiratory activity lost just after the CT investigation. Thirty minutes later cardiac arrest appeared. Despite the resuscitation, the patient died. We suggest that pneumonia and frequent tracheal aspirations are predisposing factors for cerebral vascular air embolism.