Cerebral gas embolism due to upper gastrointestinal endoscopy

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Jul;21(7):833-5. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e328310aefc.


Cerebral gas embolism as a result of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is a rare complication and bares a high morbidity. A patient is presented who underwent an upper endoscopy for evaluation of a gastric-mediastinal fistula after subtotal oesophagectomy and gastric tube reconstruction because of oesophageal cancer. During the procedure, cerebral gas emboli developed resulting in an acute left-sided hemiparesis. After hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the patient recovered almost completely. The aetiology and treatment is discussed based on the reviewed literature. Once cerebral gas emboli are recognized, patient outcome can be improved by hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Embolism, Air / etiology*
  • Embolism, Air / therapy
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation
  • Intracranial Embolism / etiology*
  • Intracranial Embolism / therapy
  • Intubation, Gastrointestinal / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome