We report the case of a systemic air embolism occurring during pulmonary radiofrequency ablation. At the end of the procedure, the patient experienced a sudden myocardial infarction, complicated by ventricular fibrillation, cardiac arrest, and cerebral infarction. Thoracic computed tomography showed an air-blood level inside the left atrium and ventricle, the aortic arch, and the coronary arteries. Cerebral computed tomography showed an infarct in the frontoparietal area. Myocardial infarction and stroke responded to resuscitation measures, including hyperbaric oxygenation. The occurrence of this life-threatening event confirms the need to train experienced anesthesiologists in these new invasive approaches to cancer treatment.

Jeannin, Saignac, Palussière, Gékière, Descat, Lakdja, , , (2009). Massive systemic air embolism during percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of a primary lung tumor. Anesthesia and analgesia, 2009 Aug;109(2):484-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19608823