When one or more gas bubbles enter a vein or artery, an air embolism, or more precisely a gas embolism, happens. It could endanger life since it can prevent blood from flowing.
The intensity and symptoms of the blockage depend on where it occurs. An air embolism is one of the most common causes of death among divers.
The most common cause of air embolism, which feels like an air bubble in my back, is diving, although other causes include specific medical procedures and gas bubbles in the blood. It is unknown how common air embolisms are; less severe occurrences may go untreated and show no symptoms.
This article will discuss air embolism’s causes, symptoms, and diagnosis. Additionally, it will discuss the safety measures divers should take to avoid the condition.
Fast facts on Air Embolism
- Scuba diving is when air embolisms are most frequently created.
- The severity of air bubbles in veins is less severe than in arteries.
- Arterial gas emboli may bring on strokes.
- Death can result from an air injection of just 2-4 ml into the brain circulation.
- Specific medical treatments can bring on air embolism.
- Approximately 57% of orthopaedic operations result in air emboli.
- Aching joints, stress, chest pain, and tremors are some signs of an air embolism.
- Recompression in a hyperbaric chamber is the best treatment for an air embolism.
- Avoiding drinking when diving and resurfacing gently are two ways to prevent embolisms.
An Air Embolism is what?
When it feels like an air bubble in my back or enters an artery or vein and obstructs it, it is known as an air embolism, sometimes a gas embolism. A venous air embolism occurs when an air bubble enters a vein. An arterial air embolism occurs when an air bubble enters the artery.
These air bubbles could affect your brain, heart, or lungs, resulting in a stroke, heart attack, or respiratory failure. However, air emboli are rather uncommon.
Air Embolism causes
When your veins or arteries are exposed, and the air is forced into them by pressure, an air embolism may result. This may occur in several ways, including:
A lung injury can occasionally result in an air embolism. For instance, you might be placed on a breathing ventilator if your lung is weakened due to an injury. A damaged vein or artery might be forced to receive air by this ventilator.
Scuba diving can potentially result in an air embolism. This can happen if you hold your breath underwater for an extended period or exit the water too rapidly.
Your lungs’ alveoli, or air sacs, may rupture due to these acts. An air embolism may happen if the alveoli burst and the air moves into your arteries.
Blowing onto the genital area
Rarely, oral intercourse that involves air blowing into the vagina might result in an air embolism. In this instance, a rip or injury in the uterus or vagina can lead to an air embolism. Pregnant women are more at risk because they may have placental tears.
What signs indicate an air embolism?
Very modest air embolism symptoms, if any at all, is possible. Severe air embolism signs could include:
- breathing problems or respiratory failure
- heart failure or chest pain
- joint or muscle discomfort
- mental state alterations, such as disorientation or unconsciousness
- reduced blood pressure
- bluish skin tone
The diagnosis of an air embolism
If you have symptoms and a recent event, such as surgery or lung damage, that could have contributed to the disease, such as an air embolism, they may suspect you of having one.
During operations, doctors employ equipment that listens for sounds from the heart, the airways, the breathing rate, and the blood pressure.
An ultrasound or CT scan may be used to confirm or rule out the occurrence of an air embolism and to pinpoint its precise anatomical location if your doctor suspects you have one.
How is a pulmonary embolism managed?
There are three objectives for treating an air embolism:
- halt the air embolism’s Source
- avoid having an air embolism that harms your body
- you should be revived if necessary.
Your doctor may occasionally be able to tell how air is getting into your body. In these circumstances, the issue will be fixed to stop more embolisms.
To prevent the embolism from reaching your heart, lungs, or brain, your doctor could also have you sit up. To keep your heart beating, you can also take drugs like adrenaline. Next, your doctor will attempt surgery to remove the air embolism. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an additional treatment option. During this painless procedure, you’ll be inside a steel, the highly pressure room filled with only oxygen. An air embolism may contract due to this treatment, allowing it to be safely absorbed into your bloodstream.
According to a reliable source, age is a factor in pulmonary embolism risk. In addition, pulmonary embolisms are more likely to occur in those with illnesses or conditions that raise the possibility of blood clotting.
A person is more likely to get a pulmonary embolism if they now have, or have ever had, a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the arm or leg.
Prolonged periods of idleness or bed rest
Trusted Source raises the possibility of DVT, which raises the possibility of pulmonary embolism. It might be a long flight or drive.
Our blood collects in our lower body when we are not moving around much. A blood clot is more prone to form if blood flow is less than usual. Blood vessel damage raises the danger as well. Injury or surgery may be the cause of this. A blood clot is more likely to develop if a blood vessel is injured because the interior of the blood channel may become narrower.
A family history of blood clots, some malignancies, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, pacemakers, catheters in the veins, pregnancy, oestrogen supplements, and smoking are additional risk factors.
A pulmonary embolism, which feels like an air bubble in my back, happens when a blood clot obstructs a lung artery. For the first 1-6 weeks following surgery, there is a higher-than-average risk of pulmonary embolism, especially if the patient is immobile.
The risk of feeling like an air bubble in my back can be decreased by taking anticoagulants, utilising compression devices, and gradually increasing movement. Anyone worried about the possibility of pulmonary embolism following surgery might consult a physician.
Can gas bubbles cause pain in your back?
You are aware that gas bubbles occasionally cause your abdomen to become so tight that you cannot touch it without feeling agony. The discomfort from this soreness may spread to your back.
Does back discomfort result from stress?
Pain in certain bodily areas might be brought on by stress. For example, your breathing pattern will change if you are under a lot of stress. In addition, your back and shoulder muscles may be impacted, causing back pain.
Which side do you lay on when you need gas?
It’s advised to sleep on your left side at night to make it easier to pass gas. Also, try placing a pillow between your knees because it greatly reduces gas.