Cerebral gas embolism is a complication of several medical procedures and occurs when gas enters the cerebral circulation. Knowledge about etiology and outcome in affected patients is limited, and prospective trials on management and treatment are hardly feasible. Case reports are therefore an important source of information. A systematic literature search was conducted in June 2016 and May 2018, supplemented by a manual search. Titles and abstracts were systematically assessed for eligibility, followed by full-text screening for included papers. Screening and data extraction were performed independently by two researchers. Cases of cerebral gas embolism due to any iatrogenic cause were included. Criteria for exclusion were: animal studies, non-cerebral localization, extravascular gas only, and non-iatrogenic causes. 264 cases reported in 189 papers were included. A broad range of procedures leading to iatrogenic cerebral gas embolism (ICGE) were identified and a comprehensive list is presented in this article. Procedures were mostly reported as conducted correctly, but procedure related error, patient activity, or defective equipment were also reported as causes. Neurological, neuropsychological, and cardiopulmonary symptoms were common. The diagnosis was frequently based on or confirmed by radiology, usually CT. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was applied in a large number of cases. The reported causes, symptoms and signs, and outcomes of ICGE vary significantly, and awareness of the condition in the medical community is essential. A standardized method of reporting could facilitate higher quality research in the field.
Hatling, Høgset, Guttormsen, Müller (2019). Iatrogenic cerebral gas embolism-A systematic review of case reports. Acta anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, 2019 Feb;63(2):154-160. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30203491