Online ISSN : 2185-4610
Print ISSN : 0016-2590
ISSN-L : 0016-2590
Original Article
Estimation of the head elevation angle that causes clinically important venous air embolism in a semi-sitting position for neurosurgery: a retrospective observational study
Masato KuriharaShinjitsu Nishimura
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2020 Volume 66 Issue 2 Pages 67-72


Introduction: The benefits of a sitting position for neurosurgery involving the posterior fossa remain controversial. The main concern is the risk of venous air embolism (VAE). A recent study showed that the rate of VAE was higher when the head was elevated to 45° than when it was elevated to 30°. However, the degree of head elevation that causes clinically important VAE is unclear. The purpose of this study was to estimate the head elevation angle at which the probability of VAE is 50% by using EtCO2 monitoring to detect of VAE.

Methods: The anesthesia records of 23 patients who underwent neurosurgery in a sitting position were reviewed retrospectively. Intraoperative ventilation was set to maintain EtCO2 at approximately 38-42 mmHg. The head elevation angle in each case was determined from a photograph taken by the anesthesiologist or brain surgeon. Nineteen of the 23 cases had photographs available that contained a horizontal reference in the background. Seven cases were treated as VAE during the operation. Six of these cases met the criteria for VAE in this study. Data analysis was performed on a total of 18 patients. The angle between the line connecting the hip joint and the shoulder joint and the horizontal reference was obtained by ImageJ software. Logistic regression was performed using the Python programming language to determine the head elevation angle at which the probability of air embolism was 50%.

Results: The decision boundary in the logistic regression was 35.7°. This head elevation angle was the boundary where the probability of VAE was 50%.

Conclusion: The angle of head elevation that caused clinically important VAE was estimated to be 35.7°.

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© 2020 The Fukushima Society of Medical Science

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