Cerebral arterial gas embolism (CAGE) shows various manifestations according to the quantity of gas and the brain areas affected. The symptoms range from minor motor weakness, headache, and confusion to disorientation, convulsions, hemiparesis, unconsciousness, and coma. A 46-year-old man was transferred to our emergency department due to altered sensorium. Immediately after a controlled ascent from 33 m of seawater, he complained of shortness of breath and rigid extremities, lapsing into unconsciousness. He was intubated at another medical center, where a brain computerized axial tomography scan showed no definitive abnormal findings. Pneumothorax and obstructing lesions were apparent in the left thorax of the computed tomography scan. Following closed thoracostomy, we provided hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) using U.S. Navy Treatment Table (USN TT) 6A. A brain magnetic resonance imaging diffusion image taken after HBOT showed acute infarction in both middle and posterior cerebral arteries. We implemented targeted temperature management (TTM) to prevent worsening of cerebral function in the intensive care unit. After completing TTM, we repeated HBOT using USN TT5 and started rehabilitation therapy. He fully recovered from the neurological deficits. This is the first case of CAGE treated with TTM and consecutive HBOTs suggesting that TTM might facilitate salvage of the penumbra in severe CAGE.
Oh, Kang, Jung, Choi (2018). Implementation of Targeted Temperature Management in a Patient with Cerebral Arterial Gas Embolism. Therapeutic hypothermia and temperature management, 2018 Sep;8(3):176-180. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30016198