A Rare Case of Fatal Venous and Cerebral Air Embolism [Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg]
Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. Ahead of Print: UTD-58201 | DOI: 10.5505/tjtes.2018.58201  

A Rare Case of Fatal Venous and Cerebral Air Embolism

Semih Petekkaya1, Osman Celbis2, Bedirhan Sezer Oner3, Omer Turhan4, Zeynep Yener5
1Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Bolu, Turkey
2Inonu University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Malatya, Turkey
3Amasya University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Amasya, Turkey
4Istanbul Medeniyet University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey
5Council of Forensic Medicine, Yalova Branch Office, Yalova, Turkey

Venous air embolism can occur as a result of blunt head and chest traumas, thoracentesis, arterial catheterization, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery and Caisson disease. The formation of venous air embolism requires an air source, interaction between the air source and the vessel and a pressure gradient supporting the air migration into the vessel. Air enters through the impaired venous structure and travels to the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries and rarely could be fatal depending on the amount of the air. In our study we present a 3 year old case who developed fatal venous and cerebral embolism during neurosurgery for the treatment of skull fractures, epidural and subdural bleeding due to having blunt head and chest trauma resulting from the television falling upon her. Our study aims to discuss the pathophysiology of death and cautions in medicolegal autopsy procedures in such cases. Adequate autopsy techniques should be used to examine air embolism in blunt trauma, especially blunt head trauma cases who die during neurosurgery and any possible future malpractice claims should be kept in mind.

Keywords: venous air embolism, neurosurgery, medicolegal autopsy, frothy blood, craniotomy complications




Corresponding Author: Zeynep Yener, Türkiye


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