You go to the doctor with a headache and they do an MRI. They find a blood clot in your brain and tell you that you have an air embolism.
Suddenly, you have a life-threatening medical emergency on your hands. An air embolism is a blockage of an artery caused by an air bubble. When this happens in the lungs, it’s called a pulmonary embolism. But when it happens in other parts of the body, it’s called an air embolism.
Air embolisms can be deadly if not treated quickly. Depending on where the blockage occurs, the symptoms can range from mild to fatal. If you think you may have an air embolism, seek medical attention right away. And learn together how long does it take for an air embolism to kill you?
If you like espionage, drama, or mystery films, you may have watched one in which some malicious people threaten to pump some air into a person’s vein. They do it in order to frighten the subject into doing or saying something, claiming that the injected air would kill them. Is this, however, true? Let’s see whether Hollywood got anything right for once, or if it simply exaggerated everything as usual.
Before we can answer this question, we must first grasp a fundamental concept. This is a kind of embolism. Strange term, easy definition. An embolism is a blockage inside a blood vessel. That’s all.
It’s not clear why it’s hindered. When most people speak about an embolus, they are referring to a tiny portion of a blood clot that has broken off from a bigger blood clot. This embolus then travels through the circulation and becomes lodged, blocking the blood artery. By the way, emboli is the plural of embolus.
In any case, an embolism may be caused by more than simply a blood clot. An embolism may be caused by fat, a tumor fragment, a mass of microorganisms, foreign substances, or simply air (or any gas). This is when the air/gas embolism comes into play.
Injecting air into the bloodstream increases your chances of a pocket of air clogging a blood artery. If the blood artery is clogged by an air bubble, blood cannot pass through. This implies that everything downstream of the obstruction will have part or all of its blood flow cut off. Without blood, there is no oxygen (in the case of an arterial blockage). Without oxygen, the piece of tissue fed by that blood artery may perish.
If an air embolism damages anything like the lungs, heart, or brain, the individual may die as a result. But don’t be alarmed. In many medical operations, little volumes of air are mistakenly introduced into a person’s vasculature, and this air bubble may be so small that it disappears on its own. When any amount of air in the vasculature produces a problem, medical practitioners are trained to identify it and treat it correctly.
Of fact, in general, extremely massive volumes of air would be required to kill a human. So, in this situation, Hollywood is accurate. We’ll skip the precise quantity you’d need for that in this session since armed you with deadly information isn’t a smart idea for legal reasons.
However, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Injecting a modest quantity of air into a person’s vein should not be an issue. However, if that individual has a cardiac condition in which blood flows practically straight from the veins into the arteries without passing via the lungs, this might be a concern. In this situation, the air bubble might enter the brain, clog an artery, and induce a possibly deadly stroke.
These symptoms may not appear right away. They may form within 10 to 20 minutes, or even longer, after surface. Do not ignore these symptoms; get medical attention right once.
An air embolism might also be caused by a lung injury. This may occur when a patient is put on a ventilator and air is pumped into a damaged vein or artery, resulting in abrupt death.
A cerebral embolism occurs when an arterial gas embolism reaches the brain and causes a stroke. A 2-3 ml injection of air into the cerebral circulation may be deadly. A cardiac arrest may be caused by as little as 0.5-1 ml of air in the pulmonary vein.
Small embolisms usually dissolve in the bloodstream and do not cause major complications. Large air embolisms may result in strokes or heart attacks, which can be deadly. Prompt medical care for an embolism is critical, so contact 911 right away if you suspect an air embolism.
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