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Signs of Air Embolism

August 27, 2008

MRI showing air embolism in the heart

MRI showing air embolism in the heart

I know that this is a true clinical sign and excellent clue to the diagnosis, but it just sounds a bit too late and not of much help for the patient and physician, because even if you suspect that diagnosis there is nothing else you can do. This is a quote from FA for USMLE step 2 CK (btw I am a huge fan of FA series).

Signs of air embolism: A patient with chest trauma who was previously stable suddenly dies.

How are you going to answer sort of question like,”How did you suspect air embolism?’, or “What is the most important sign of air embolism?”. Using the above quote your answer should be something like,”I suspect air embolism, because the patient with a chest trauma I was looking after suddenly died”. In this case, at least nobody will ask you for the diagnostic and therapeutic algorithm;however, they can ask you some other questions you don’t even want to think about.

What is the moral of the story. Read and know more, if you don’t want to end up in a stupid situation.

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