Background: Surgical procedures that use insufflation carry a risk of gas embolism, which is considered relatively harmless because of the high solubility of carbon dioxide. However, an in vitro study suggested that valveless insufflation devices may entrain non-medical room air into the surgical cavity. Our aim was to verify if this occurs in actual surgical procedures. Methods: The oxygen percentage in the pneumoperitoneum or pneumorectum/pneumopelvis of eight patients operated with use of the AirSeal® was continuously measured, to determine the percentage of air in the total volume of the surgical cavity. Results: Basal air percentage in the surgical cavity was 0–5%. During suctioning from the operative field air percentage increased to 45–65%. Conclusions: The AirSeal® valveless insufflation device maintains optimal distension of the surgical cavity not only by insufflating carbon dioxide, but also by entraining room air, especially during suctioning from the operative field. This may theoretically lead to air embolism in patients operated on with this device.
- Air embolism
- Transanal endoscopic surgery