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W Zhang, KS Ho, HJ Han, CS Kong, KW Eu
Correspondence: Dr Eu Kong Weng, email@example.com
We report a 67-year-old woman who underwent laparoscopic-assisted abdomino-perineal resection for rectal carcinoma. She sustained hypotension of 40/20 mmHg associated with bradycardia (heart rate 30 to 45 beats per minute) and an end-tidal carbon dioxide level of zero when she was raised to a head-up position at the end of surgery to facilitate pelvic irrigation. Pulmonary air embolism was confirmed by aspiration of 15 millilitres of foamy blood from her central venous line. Resuscitation was successful and she recovered completely with no neurological deficits.
Keywords: air embolism, colectomy, laparoscopic surgery, rectal cancer, surgery complications
Singapore Med J 2005; 46(7): 347-348