Nonfatal air embolism during shoulder arthroscopy.

Vivek Pandey, Elsa Varghese, Madhu Rao, Nataraj M. Srinivasan, Neethu Mathew, Kiran K.V. Acharya, P. Sripathi Rao

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9 Citations (Scopus)


An air embolism is a rare but potentially fatal complication of shoulder arthroscopy. In this article, we report the case of a patient who developed a nonfatal air embolism during shoulder arthroscopy for an acute bony Bankart lesion and a greater tuberosity avulsion fracture. The venous air embolism occurred immediately after the joint was insufflated with air for diagnostic air arthroscopy. The diagnosis was based on a drop in end-tidal carbon dioxide and blood pressure and presence of mill wheel (waterwheel) murmur over the right heart. Supportive treatment was initiated immediately. The patient recovered fully and had no further complications of air embolism. This patient's case emphasizes the importance of being aware that air embolisms can occur during shoulder arthroscopy performed for acute intra-articular fractures of the shoulder. Monitoring end tidal carbon dioxide can be very useful in early detection of air embolisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-274
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican journal of orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01-06-2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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