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Suspected air embolism through the thoracic ventral internal vertebral venous plexus during hemilaminectomy in dogs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Veronica Mortera
  • Hugo van Oostrom
  • Carmen Yeamans
  • Rodrigo Gutierrez-Quintana
  • Jaques Penderis
  • Nicolas Granger
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-358
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Issue number6
Early online date10 Apr 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 31 May 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2017
DatePublished (current) - Jun 2017


This article describes a clinical observation made during thoracic spinal surgery in two dogs, leading to the suspicion of venous air embolism (VAE) through the ventral internal vertebral venous plexus.

Air bubbling from the pool of blood on the floor of the vertebral canal was observed in both cases accompanied with sudden cardiopulmonary disturbances – low end-tidal carbon dioxide pressure (PETCO2), tachycardia and SpO2 reduction. One case had dyspnoea as well. One case died. Similar observations have been made in human patients during spinal surgery, with fatal consequences in nearly 50% of cases.

Venous air embolism can spontaneously occur in dogs during thoracic spinal surgery and our aim is to raise awareness of this intra-operative, potentially fatal, complication.

    Research areas

  • canine, ventral internal venous plexus of the spine, spinal, neurosurgery, air embolism

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Wiley at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 202 KB, PDF document


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