What is the role of pulmonary artery catheter 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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Answer

A pulmonary artery catheter can detect increases in pulmonary artery pressures, which may be secondary to mechanical obstruction or vasoconstriction from the hypoxemia induced by the VAE. However, it is a relatively insensitive/nonspecific monitor of air entrainment (0.25 mL/kg). [1] The lumen catheter is also too small for air to be removed, thereby limiting its function.


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