What is the role of end-tidal nitrogen (ETN2) testing in the workup of venous air embolism (VAE)?

Updated: Dec 30, 2017
  • Author: Brenda L Natal, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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End-tidal nitrogen (ETN2) is the most sensitive gas-sensing VAE detection modality; it measures increases in ETN2 as low as 0.04%. Response time is much faster than ETCO2 (30-90 s earlier). However, it does not detect subclinical VAE or decreases with hypotension and may falsely indicate resolution of VAE too prematurely. [1, 41]

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