2021 Jul 18. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–.
Venous gas embolism is defined by an abnormal collection of gas that forms a bubble in the systemic venous circulation. This bubble can act as an embolus affecting blood flow. In most cases, venous gas embolism is iatrogenic in nature. It may occur during cannulation of the central veins, head and neck surgery, blunt and penetrating chest trauma, thoracentesis, hemodialysis, and high pressure during mechanical ventilation. Venous gas embolism is known to occur during diving and during the injection of radiocontrast for CT scans. Most cases of venous gas embolism are benign and are not even reported. However, when symptoms develop, the disorder does require immediate treatment as there is a risk of death.