FAQ - Embolism, Air
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How do you explain an air embolism in a 16 year old?


16 year old male, taking unknown weight loss supplement for 1 year, develops chest pain/ shortness of breath while weight lifting, is ultimately found to have an air embolism in his right ventricle. Had no recent venous access, no surgeries/procedures, no prior medical history. How could this have happened??
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Weight Lifting?

I may be 100% wrong, but he could be abusing steroids.

You know when you watch a medical program and they spray liquid out of a syringe and then tap the end of the needle? Well, that's to get rid of the air bubbles and to prevent air embolisms.

If you're 16 year old shot them self up with riods and didn't do this, then they could easily have given them self an air embolism.  (+ info)

What's the difference between an air embolism and "the bends" when referring to decompression illnesses?


Hello, I'm doing a project in which I'm relating the gas laws of chemistry to SCUBA diving, and I'm instructed to do two separate panels on both "the bends" and air embolisms. I have completed the section on "the bends," but when researching air embolisms, I feel that the two are so similar that I am having a hard time differentiating between the two. I am not too familiar with decompression illnesses, so could someone of a better understanding please help me out?
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The Bends, also known as Decompression Sickness or DCS is when bubbles become blocked somewhere, typically in joint such as an elbow or shoulder. Depending upon severity, this can be quite painful. Treatment involves recompression in a chamber to reduce the size of the bubbles. "Small" bubbles are normal occurrence due to diving, but when they become too large, you get "bent."

Embolism, on the other hand, is completely different. Air Embolism is a situation where when the breath is held, the lungs become over-expanded and rupture like a balloon. The air then proceeds past the heart and straight to the brain. Since there are no nerves in the lungs it it painless. But death comes in under a minute.  (+ info)

Is it realistically possible to die from an air embolism from that air thing at the dentist's office?


They have those high pressure water and air things and they spray it right into the dental work. Is there a chance that the air will enter the bloodstream and cause an embolism? And if so, how frequent is this?
blond... it has happened to people refilling the air in their tires, how could this be so different?
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Yes. But from infection, not from air in the blood stream.

If the tooth's root canal space is open it is possible to cause a severe infection by blowing air into an open pulp canal and into the potential spaces between muscle attachments, in bone, etc.

It is also possible to cause an air embolism by blowing air into a wound (a soft tissue incision, etc.) in the mouth. Same result - a bolus of air is introduced into potential tissue space and an infection can result. When this occurs the patient needs to be put on anbitiotics.  (+ info)

How long does a person have before they can die from an air embolism?


my grandmother had some dye injected into her and they realized that there was an air bubble located after they had done some x-rays. They then called her heart specialist from there I have no idea what is going on.
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They should be able to find it with the x-ray and deflate it. That's why they called the other doctor.

Depends on how fast it moves. It could be seconds or days before it would kill her. Most likely by now they have removed it.  (+ info)

What should I do if I think I have an air embolism?


My friend tried taking my blood earlier, and when she went to with draw the plunger, only air came out, then it shot back in. It made me very dizzy and my heart started pounding. I felt fine a minute later, but now (several hours later) I'm having pressure in my head and feeling very light headed and dizzy.

Should I worry, or just go lie down and rest?
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if she had the plunger in ur veins to draw blood, than air would not have come out. blood would have. msot likely she missed the vein. not only that but a small amount of air in the vein is ok (dont go out jabbing air into ur veins for fun) but a large amount can actually cause death.
if a person has accidentally injected air into their vessels, turn to ur left side and lay head down (trendelenburg).  (+ info)

Pregnant, can you get an air embolism while swimming?


I have read all about the possibility of getting an air embolism if your partner blows air into you while performing oral sex. Do you think it would be possible to get an air embolism if someone blew air bubbles in the water underneath you while you were swimming? Stupid questions but i'm curious.
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No. There needs to basically be a closed seal (lips to..well, lips) and a fair bit of force behind it for the embolism to occur.
Bubbles are fine.  (+ info)

How Much Air Does One Have To Have Injected I.V. Before A Fatal Embolism Occurs?


I am terrified of this accidentally happening whenever I have to have an I.V. I remember a nurse saying to me that so many cc's of air need to be injected before you can die from it. How many? What happens if air bubbles are injected not a fatal amount, what happens to the air in the veins? Thank you for your answers
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I do not have an answer to your question as far as to the amount concerned. However, this is far from a common occurrence.

I myself have had several IVs and have been with my wife in labor and observed her IVs. Proper precautions are elementary and always followed. I have seen IV bags empty completely and there is never a chance of air entering the system.

The chances of this event occurring are extremely slight. You do not need to traumatize yourself about this concern.  (+ info)

PLEASE READ: What should I do if I think I have an air embolism?


My friend tried taking my blood earlier, and when she went to with draw the plunger, only air came out, then it shot back in. It made me very dizzy and my heart started pounding. I felt fine a minute later, but now (several hours later) I'm having pressure in my head and feeling very light headed and dizzy.

Should I worry, or just go lie down and rest?
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You need to have far more than that small amount of air injected into a peripheral vein(as opposed to a central vein) to cause any problems. The previous poster mentioned 12 ml. I've actually heard far more than that. The previous poster also mentioned the Omen, where the person died from and air embolism. I was actually watching that movie inthe theatre with another nurse that I worked with. We rolled our eyes and almost started laughing because that small amt of air wouldn't have done a thing  (+ info)

having an air in the intravenous fluid can cause pulmonary embolism?


is that the cause of the death of my patient? she is having a dead fetus inside her uterus and having a 3rd stage cancer? pls i need your answer.....
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It's possible to die from air going into your veins. However, it has to be a really significant amount of air. Air bubbles in IV tubing, for example, won't bother you at all. Not even a bunch of them in a row. It would have to be anywhere from 100-300mL of air to actually kill you, which is a huge amount. There have been reports of smaller amounts causing harm, but not usually being fatal. There has also been a case of a man receiving 90mL of air and did not die. So it really is subjective. But when you have an IV in, the ENTIRE length of the tubing is only about 20mL.  (+ info)

Air embolism really kill?The amount of the remake of the omen kill someone?How do you save someone if u see it


I was shocked when I saw the 2006 remake of The Omen.Katherine was murdered.That made me wonder is hospital security that poor to its patients?I mean criminal wise.

and what about air embolisms.Is the amount shown in the movie able to really kill someone.and lastly how if even possible do you stop one if you see it traveling down the IV Line.

I might be a nurse or doc so ya this kinda stuff interests me.
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If you are a nurse or a doc you need to have a spot of re-training.

Dramas and crap aside, you need a SUBSTANTIAL amount of air injected into a vein to cause any real harm, blood pressure is quite high, air is very compressible.

If a VERY high level you can effectively get "the bends", which can be harmful - but you are not going to get that from a farty little bubble of air coming down the IV line.

Even the "squirting of the syringe" prior to injection is more about bad habits and drama than anything useful - other than perhaps making sure the needled is not blocked.

If you see anything travelling down a line and need to stop it, you can:

Pinch the line
Close the tap
In emergency, remove line from Venflon / point of insertion

Mark  (+ info)

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Last update: September 2014
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