Cerebral Artery Gas Embolism Following Navigational Bronchoscopy

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Introduction:Cerebral artery gas embolism (CAGE) is a rare but serious adverse event with potentially devastating neurologic sequelae. Bronchoscopy is a frequently performed procedure but with only a few reported cases of CAGE.Methods:We report the first documented case of CAGE associated with electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy.Results:A 61-year-old man with a left lower lobe nodule underwent electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy. The target lesion underwent transbronchial biopsy, brushing and an end-procedure lavage. Following the procedure, he developed seizures, evidence of hypoxic injury and cerebral edema, and air emboli were seen on computed tomography imaging. He then underwent treatment with hyperbaric oxygen with a full and complete neurologic recovery. Review of other cases reported in the literature suggests improved neurologic outcomes with hyperbaric oxygen treatment.Conclusions:Biopsy techniques performed during bronchoscopy and electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy can result in CAGE. Comparison with other reported cases suggests improved neurologic outcomes in those treated with hyperbaric oxygen. Prompt recognition of this complication and timely treatment with hyperbaric oxygen are the cornerstones to recovery.

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