Seizures in Iatrogenic Cerebral Arterial Gas Embolism

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Objectives: Iatrogenic cerebral arterial gas embolism occurs when gas enters the cerebral arterial circulation during a medical procedure and is considered a severe complication. Seizures have been described in these patients, but information on clinical characteristics, treatment, and outcome is lacking in current literature. The aim of the study was to explore seizures in patients with iatrogenic cerebral arterial gas embolism and to evaluate management strategies.

Design: Retrospective single-center observational study.

Setting: The only university hospital in the Netherlands with a hyperbaric oxygen therapy facility.

Patients: All patients presenting at or referred to our center with iatrogenic cerebral arterial gas embolism between May 2016 and December 2020.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Measurements and Main Results: Fifteen patients with iatrogenic cerebral arterial gas embolism were identified, of whom 11 (73%) developed seizures. Five patients developed their first seizure prior to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, three during hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and three after hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Of the 11 patients with seizures, all but one were treated with anti-epileptic drugs. With a median follow-up time of 5 months (range, 1-54 mo), five patients showed complete neurologic recovery, five had minor neurologic deficit, two had moderate to severe neurologic deficit, and three had died. Four patients still used anti-epileptic drugs at follow-up. No patients had recurrent seizures after hospital discharge.

Conclusions: `Seizures are a common symptom in iatrogenic cerebral arterial gas embolism. They are often treated with anti-epileptic drugs and do not seem to lead to chronic epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0513
JournalCritical Care Explorations
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

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