Intraoperative Complications

Venous Air Embolism

Venous air embolism (VAE) occurs when the patient's head is higher than the heart, and in particular when it is above the right heart filling pressure. Although observed in the sitting or semisitting position, this event may occur with any surgical procedure. Using a central line to aspirate air during a VAE will only be successful if the tip of the catheter is located at the junction of the right atrium and superior vena cava. Catheters with multiple openings increase the likelihood of aspiration of significant quantities of air.

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