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Air embolus

Does anyone know a source for statistical information about the liklihood of an air embolus if an implanted port is incorrectly accessed?

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I just went through all of

I just went through all of the published literature on vascular air emboli from catheters for a couple of different projects. There really are no statistics available about the incidence of this complication. The publications are case reports of one or two patients, animal studies, and review articles addressing pathophysiology and management. I am not sure what you mean by "accessed incorrectly" Air emboli occurs on insertion, during catheter use, and at removal. If an implanted port is accessed incorrectly, does this mean the catheter and not the port body was punctured? Was the needle not long enough to puncture through the port septum? Any damage to the port body or catheter attached is unlikely to lead to air emboli because the body and catheter are all under the skin. If the port access needle was opened to room air during tubing or connector change, without the proper patient position or use of valsalva, and if the patient had a fluid volume deficit, air could enter the blood stream through the needle. Lynn

Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., RN, BC, CRNI

Lynn Hadaway Associates, Inc.

126 Main Street, PO Box 10

Milner, GA 30257


Office Phone 770-358-7861

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