Systemic air embolism is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication of percutaneous computed tomography (CT)-guided lung biopsy. The incidence might be underestimated because of failure to diagnose this adverse event in asymptomatic patients; early recognition is difficult.
We report the case of a 73-year-old man with systemic air embolism, a complication of percutaneous CT-guided lung biopsy, due to a kink in the coaxial biopsy system. Serial post-procedure CT scans demonstrated the causal relationship.
Sequential post-biopsy CT scans demonstrated a causal relationship between this systemic air embolism and percutaneous biopsy, and allowed the radiologist to track the course of the emboli and their resolution. Awareness of air entry via the introducer needle and an early post-biopsy CT scan are crucial for early detection of systemic air embolism. If air embolism occurs in an asymptomatic patient, we recommend performing a delayed chest CT scan to follow the air’s course.
Tomiyama N, Yasuhara Y, Nakajima Y, Adachi S, Arai Y, Kusumoto M, et al. CT-guided needle biopsy of lung lesions: a survey of severe complication based on 9783 biopsies in Japan. Eur J Radiol. 2006;2006(59):60–4. CrossRef
Ibukuro K, Tanaka R, Takeguchi T, Fukuda H, Abe S, Tobe K. Air embolism and needle track implantation complicating CT-guided percutaneous thoracic biopsy: single-institution experience. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2009;2009(193):W430–6. CrossRef
- Systemic air embolism after percutaneous computed tomography-guided lung biopsy due to a kink in the coaxial biopsy system: a case report
- BioMed Central
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