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Venous air embolism detected on computed tomography of small animals

Authors

  • H. G. Heng,

    1. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
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  • J. D. Ruth,

    1. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
    2. Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Blacksburg, VA, USA
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  • K. Lee

    1. College of Veterinary Medicine, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Republic of Korea
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Abstract

Objective

To describe the prevalence, location and clinical significance of abnormal gas accumulations in dogs and cats detected on computerised tomography images.

Methods

Retrospective evaluation of all canine and feline computed tomography examinations (292 pre-contrast and 219 post-contrast) performed in a 12-month time period. All studies were evaluated for the presence of venous air emboli. The location of intravenous gas was noted and the volume of intravenous air emboli was estimated visually. The medical records of animals with venous air embolism were reviewed for signs of cardiopulmonary complications.

Results

The overall prevalence of air embolism on pre- and incidence on post-contrast images was 4 · 5 and 2 · 3%, respectively. The prevalence of air embolism on pre-contrast and incidence on post-contrast thoracic images was 35 · 7 and 14 · 2%, respectively. The volume of venous air was generally small and the most common was in an axillary vein. None of the animals had any cardiopulmonary complications.

Clinical Significance

The presence of small volume venous air embolism on routine computed tomography examinations is a frequent incidental finding that does not appear to cause cardiopulmonary complications.

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