Endoscopic Bubble Trouble: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Cerebral Gas Embolism During Upper Endoscopy

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Gas embolism is a rare but potentially devastating complication of endoscopic procedures. We describe 3 cases of gas embolism which were associated with endoscopic procedures (esophagogastroduodenoscopy and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). We treated these at our hyperbaric medicine center with 3 different outcomes: complete resolution, death, and disability. We review the literature regarding this unusual complication of endoscopy and discuss the need for prompt identification and referral for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Additional adjunctive therapies are also discussed.

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