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An abnormal capnography trace due to air embolism in the lateral position
  1. Yi Lin Lee1,
  2. Kai Yin Hwang2,
  3. Woon Si Yew2 and
  4. Shin Yi Ng1
  1. 1 Department of Surgical Intensive Care, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
  2. 2 Department of Anaesthesiology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yi Lin Lee, lee.yi.lin{at}


Venous air embolism occurs when air is entrained into the venous system and travels to the right heart and pulmonary circulation, and commonly occurs as a complication in laparoscopic, neurosurgical and cardiac surgeries. We present a case of abnormal end-tidal carbon dioxide capnography tracing in the lateral position in a laparoscopic major liver procedure and discuss the potential novel use of this as a red flag in aiding the medical practitioner to diagnose air embolism.

  • anaesthesia
  • hepatic cancer
  • surgical oncology
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  • Contributors YLL and KYH: design of the work, acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting the work. WSY and SYN: revising article critically for important intellectual content and final approval of the version published.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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