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      Cerebral arterial gas embolism following diagnostic bronchoscopy: delayed treatment with hyperbaric oxygen.

      Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia

      Aged, Barotrauma, complications, etiology, Bronchoscopy, adverse effects, Cerebral Arteries, Embolism, Air, psychology, therapy, Humans, Hyperbaric Oxygenation, Male, Nervous System Diseases, chemically induced, pathology, Pain Measurement

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          To describe a clinical scenario consistent with the diagnosis of cerebral arterial gas embolism (CAGE) acquired during an outpatient bronchoscopy. Our discussion explores the mechanisms and diagnosis of CAGE and the role of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A diagnostic bronchoscopy was performed on a 70-yr-old man who had had a lobectomy for bronchogenic carcinoma three months earlier. During the direct insufflation of oxygen into the right middle lobe bronchus, the patient became unresponsive and developed subcutaneous emphysema. Immediately, an endotracheal tube and bilateral chest tubes were placed with resultant improvement in his oxygen saturation. However, he remained unresponsive with extensor and flexor responses to pain. Later, in the intensive care unit, he exhibited seizure activity requiring anticonvulsant therapy. Sedation was utilized only briefly to facilitate controlled ventilation. Investigations revealed a negative computerized tomography (CT) scan of the head, a normal cerebral spinal fluid examination, a CT chest that showed evidence of barotrauma, and an abnormal electroencephalogram. Fifty-two hours after the event, he was treated for presumed CAGE with hyperbaric oxygen using a modified United States Navy Table 6. Twelve hours later he had regained consciousness and was extubated. He underwent two more hyperbaric treatments and was discharged from hospital one week after the event, fully recovered. A patient with presumed CAGE made a complete recovery following treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy even though it was initiated after a significant time delay.

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