Venous air embolism during endoscopic strip craniectomy for repair of craniosynostosis in infants

Joseph D. Tobias, Joel O. Johnson, David F. Jimenez, Constance M. Barone, D. Scott McBride

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background: Various studies have reported an incidence of venous air embolism (VAE) as high as 82.6% during surgical procedures for craniosynostosis. There has been an increase in the use of minimally invasive, endoscopic surgical procedures, including applications for endoscopic strip craniectomy. The current study prospectively evaluated the incidence of VAE during endoscopic strip craniectomy. Methods: Continuous, intraoperative monitoring for VAE was performed using precordial Doppler monitoring. A recording was made of the Doppler tones and later reviewed to verify its accuracy. Results: The cohort for the study included 50 consecutive neonates and infants ranging in age from 3.5 to 36 weeks and ranging in weight from 3 to 9 kg. Surgical time varied from 31 to 95 min for a total of 2,701 min of operating time, during which precordial Doppler tones were auscultated. In 46 patients, there was no evidence of VAE. In four patients, there was a single episode of VAE. Two of the episodes of VAE were grade I (change in Doppler tones), and two were grade II (change in Doppler tones and decrease in end-tidal carbon dioxide). No grade III (decrease in systolic blood pressure by 20% from baseline) VAE was noted. Conclusion: In addition to previously reported benefits of decreased blood loss, decreased surgical time, and improved postoperative recovery time, the authors noted a low incidence of VAE during endoscopic strip craniectomy in neonates and infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-342
Number of pages3
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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