General Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

, Volume 67, Issue 10, pp 880–883 | Cite as

Influx of air into the left atrium during lung resection

  • Kenta NakahashiEmail author
  • Hiroyuki Oizumi
  • Jun Suzuki
  • Akira Hamada
  • Hikaru Watarai
  • Satoshi Takamori
  • Mitsuaki Sadahiro
Original Article



In this study, we aimed to determine conditions associated with the development of air bubbles in the pulmonary veins during lung resection.


A total of 28 patients who underwent lung resection at our institution between October 2016 and March 2018 were included in the study. An intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography was conducted, and the influx of air bubbles in the orifice of the pulmonary vein leading to the left atrium was observed during lung resection.


The median age of all patients was 75 years. The study included 13 men and 15 women. Moreover, seven, 14, and seven patients underwent wedge resection, segmentectomy, and lobectomy, respectively. The presence of air bubbles was observed in 15 patients and was detected when the lung parenchyma was cut (13 patients) or compressed (3 patients) using staplers and when an energy device was used (1 patient). No postoperative organ infarction occurred in any patients.


Although the presence of air bubbles was noted in the pulmonary vein during lung resection via transesophageal echocardiography, the clinical condition of the patients in our study did not deteriorate. The clinical significance of air bubbles is not clear. Therefore, more data about such events must be collected in future.


Systemic air embolism Transesophageal echocardiography Air bubbles Lung resection 



This study was not supported by a sponsor or funding agency.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

Supplementary material

Video 1: We identified air bubbles during transesophageal echocardiography when the lung parenchyma was cut. The patient in this figure is the same as the one in Fig. 1. (MPG 7066 KB)


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Association for Thoracic Surgery 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine, Second Department of SurgeryYamagata UniversityYamagataJapan

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