[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Air Embolism: The Silent Killer

Air Embolism: The Silent Killer

No Comments

IV therapy, complication or malpractice?

Our program for legal nurse consultants on IV therapy malpractice and complications revealed some frightening facts. As little as one ounce of air can enter the blood vessel in a second and result in death.

Sue, RN, a skilled IV therapy expert witness, educator, and author, explained some of the ways that air can get into the intravascular system of a patient when there is:

  1. a hole in the catheter
  2. disconnection of IV tubing
  3. removal of a cap on an intravenous line
  4. accidental pumping or injecting of air.
  5. the omission of the step of running IV fluid through a catheter to prime the tubing to remove air.
  6. a site of entry above the heart (such as the blood vessels in the neck or upper chest)
  7. an accidental removal of a central intravenous line, such as when a patient pulls the line out.
  8. laughing, coughing or sneezing during central line removal

Healthcare professionals can allow air to enter the vein when they do not apply an occlusive dressing over a central line insertion site. Sue defined occlusive as the application of an antimicrobial ointment over the entry site covered by a transparent dressing. Sue pointed out that many deaths from air embolism are undetected because the symptoms are vague, and not associated with an action on the part of a healthcare provider. This is why air embolism is called the silent killer.

Med League provides medical expert witnesses to trial lawyers. Please call us at (908)788-8227 or contact us today to discuss your next case.

  • Share This

Contact US

    Are you?


    Communication preference


    Related Posts

    Submit a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

    <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>