Air embolus revisited - a diagnostic and interventional radiological perspective (bubble trouble and the dynamic Mercedes Benz sign)

  • DJ Embey
  • K Ho


Air embolus has always been a recognised hazard within the practice of diagnostic imaging. This is now, more than ever, the case with the advent of the widespread use of pump injectors for intravenous contrast delivery and the increasing use of percutaneous interventions in the lungs. The different clinical syndromes associated with air embolus in the systemic venous (right heart) circulation and the systemic arterial (left heart) circulation need to be clearly understood in order to diagnose and treat these conditions in the clinical setting. This article reviews the topic of air embolus, including diagnosis and treatment, as this specifically relates to the practice of diagnostic and interventional radiology. The article also includes images relating to the depiction of air embolus, with attention drawn to a commonly encountered imaging appearance or sign.

South African Journal of Radiology Vol. 10 (1) 2006: pp. 3-7

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2078-6778
print ISSN: 1027-202X