We report a patient with cerebral air embolism in whom we could perform serial brain magnetic resonance images (MRIs). A 78-year-old man was admitted to our hospital because of recurrent empyema after surgery for esophageal cancer. He suddenly demonstrated left hemiparesis in the middle of pleural lavage. After about 30 minutes from onset, the computed tomography (CT) revealed multiple air-isodense spots in the right hemisphere of the brain. After about 2 hours from onset, many hypointense spots in the right hemisphere were revealed on T2*-weighted image (T2*WI). These findings suggested cerebral air embolism. He didn’t receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy because he had status epilepticus. The hypointense spots on the T2*WI became smaller and spread after 7 hours from onset and almost disappeared after 53 days. It is important to recognize that cerebral arterial air embolism is similar to multiple microbleeds and cerebral arteriovenous fistula in hypointense spots on the T2*WI.

Miyashiro, Terasawa, Yamamoto, Izumi, Kaji, , , , (2013). [A case of cerebral air embolism developed during pleural lavage]. Rinsho shinkeigaku = Clinical neurology, 2013 ;53(2):109-13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23470890