Article Title

Air embolism in gastroscopy


Endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is a common medical examination. One of the rare but serious, albeit fatal complications of gastroscopy is venous air embolism.

We performed a literature search with the keywords “air embolism”, “gastroscopy”, and “endoscopy”.

There were 14 cases of air embolism associated with gastroscopy. The median age was 66 years old (range 4 months–80 years old). The main presenting symptoms were neurological (n = 9) and respiratory compromise (n = 7). The main investigation used for diagnosis were CT (n = 10) and ECHO (n = 6). The main risk factor identified was mucosal breach (n = 9). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was used in four cases. The mortality rate is 57.1%.

Air embolism is a very rare complication and is often overlooked. Rapid diagnosis is vital for successful treatment. It should be considered in any patient with sudden onset of severe cardiopulmonary and/or neurologic decompensation during gastroscopy.


peer-reviewed, air embolism, gastroscopy, upper gastrointestinal, endoscopy, complications

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