American Journal of Medical Case Reports
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American Journal of Medical Case Reports. 2020, 8(5), 119-122
DOI: 10.12691/ajmcr-8-5-3
Open AccessCase Report

Pulmonary Air embolism Associated with Pneumocephalus: A Case Report

Mohammed Al-Sadawi1, Romy Rodriguez Ortega1, Naseem Hossain1, Yusra Qaiser1 and Samy I. McFarlane1,

1Department of Internal Medicine, State University of New York: Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, United States- 11203

Pub. Date: March 14, 2020

Cite this paper:
Mohammed Al-Sadawi, Romy Rodriguez Ortega, Naseem Hossain, Yusra Qaiser and Samy I. McFarlane. Pulmonary Air embolism Associated with Pneumocephalus: A Case Report. American Journal of Medical Case Reports. 2020; 8(5):119-122. doi: 10.12691/ajmcr-8-5-3


Iatrogenic air embolism is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Retrograde cerebral venous air embolism is most frequently associated with manipulation of venous access most commonly from central venous catheters. The ascension of air to the cerebral circulation is possibly due to the low specific gravity of air compared to blood and the performance of procedures in the sitting position. Increased right ventricular pressures in the setting of pulmonary thromboembolism may also contribute to the retrograde flow of air. We present the case of a 61-year-old woman who developed a massive pulmonary embolism and pneumocephalus, which was evident during contrast enhanced CT pulmonary angiography. Neurological deficits were not apparent and air resorption occurred after 48 hours of high flow oxygen therapy.

air embolism pneumocephalus intravenous contrast cerebral air embolism

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