chapter  24
16 Pages

Potential Complications and Their Prevention

WithIrvin F. Hawkins

Although CO2 digital subtraction angiography (DSA) complications have been

extremely rare at our institution over the past 26 years, in order to avoid complications,

one must understand the properties of gas (buoyancy, compression, and problems with

delivery). The most potentially dangerous complication is inadvertent injections of

excessive volumes of CO2, which can cause “vapor lock” of the pulmonary artery and

lead to cardiac arrest. Air contamination can also be a severe problem, causing “vapor

lock” of the pulmonary artery, and possibly causing ischemic changes in the visceral

and peripheral circulation. The majority of these complications can be avoided by using

the plastic bag delivery system or the computerized injector, if both are used correctly.

One should also be aware of other rare potential complications.