Cardiac Arrest Due to Air Embolism: Complicating Image-guided Lung Biopsy

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Cardiac arrest due to air embolism is an infrequent complication. Air embolism can be associated with procedures like endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, endoscopic variceal ligation, operative hysteroscopy, laparoscopic surgery, pacemaker placement, cardiac ablation, fiberoptic bronchoscopy, and decompression sickness. In rare cases, air embolus can be a catastrophic complication of computed tomography (CT) guided lung biopsy, which can lead to cardiac arrest. We present a case of a 67-year-old male chronic smoker with a left lower lobe pulmonary nodule who had a cardiac arrest due to air embolism as a consequence of CT guided biopsy of the pulmonary nodule found on a CT scan of the chest. He was successfully resuscitated and intubated for mechanical ventilation. He was managed conservatively and discharged home in a stable condition.