Recognising air embolism as a complication of vascular access

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“Understanding the potential for air embolism as a complication of this procedure, recognising and managing the signs and symptoms, and being able to apply preventative measures, are imperative to enhance patient safety.” Campbell (2014).

Reference:

Campbell, J. (2014) Recognising air embolism as a complication of vascular access. British Journal of Nursing. 23(Sup14), p.S4-S8.

Abstract:

The insertion and maintanence of advanced vascular access devices is increasingly becoming the remit of advanced nurses. Understanding the potential for air embolism as a complication of this procedure, recognising and managing the signs and symptoms, and being able to apply preventative measures, are imperative to enhance patient safety. A range of outcomes can present from air embolism depending on the rate and volume of air entrained, from sub-clinical to death, so the application of expert knowledge and vigilance is essential to minimise risk. According the the available literature, supplemental oxygen administration appears to be the most effective treatment.

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