Records on all patients with arterial gas embolism (AGE) presenting to UCSD from 1982-1989 and for whom chest radiographs were available were reviewed. Of the 31 patients, 13 roentgenograms (42%) showed evidence of pulmonary barotrauma demonstrated by pneumomediastinum (N = 8), subcutaneous emphysema (N = 3), pneumocardium (N = 2), pneumoperitoneum (N = 1), or pneumothorax (N = 1). Pneumopericardium was not seen. Sixteen (52%) of the 31 patients had pulmonary infiltrates. Radiographic evidence of barotrauma was on occasion subtle, and in four cases was overlooked. Evidence of barotrauma (i.e., extra-alveolar air) was often identified along the left cardiac border, aortic arch, descending aorta, and hilar vessels. Subtle findings of ectopic air can confirm the clinical diagnosis of AGE; however, radiographic evidence of concomitant near drowning occurs more frequently.