Catheterization Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention



ABSTRACTAir embolism associated with central venous catheterization carries with it a significant morbidity and mortality. The diagnosis should be suggested by sudden alterations in cardiovascular, respiratory, or central nervous system function in a patient with a central venous catheter. A “mill wheel” cardiac murmur is characteristic. Placing the patient in the left lateral decubitus with the head down allows displacement of the air from the pulmonary outflow tract. Prevention of the complication involves thorough patient and physician preparation before subclavian catheterization, use of a Luer lock between catheter and tubing, meticulous catheter care, and employment of a pump with an in-line air detector.

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