Massive air embolism resulting in ischemic stroke after left ventricular assist device implantation

J Card Surg. 2019 Nov;34(11):1393-1395. doi: 10.1111/jocs.14222. Epub 2019 Aug 23.


We present the first case of ischemic stroke secondary to massive air embolus during implantation of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The patient experienced a suction event at the time of aortic cannula removal. Despite the use of all standard deairing techniques and flooding the operative field with continuous-flow carbon dioxide, a significant amount of air was delivered into the ascending aorta through the LVAD pump.

Keywords: LVAD; MCS therapy; air embolism; complications; heart failure; stroke.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Embolism, Air / etiology*
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Stroke / etiology*