Journal of hepato-biliary-pancreatic surgery

Argon gas embolism in the application of laparoscopic microwave coagulation therapy.

PMID 19209380


A major concern in the use of the argon beam coagulator system is the potential risk of argon gas embolism. Seven cases with argon gas embolism in the English literature were reviewed along with the current case. The latter case was a 77-year-old female having laparoscopic hepatectomy after application of the microwave coagulation system on the cutting planes. Immediately following shots of an argon beam to control local bleeding at the needle hole in the liver caused by microwave coagulation, the end-tidal carbon disappeared, followed by cardiovascular collapse. After 18 min of cardiovascular resuscitation, the tumors were resected under laparotomy. After reviewing the cases, pneumoperitoneum (57.1%), hepatic needle punctures (42.8%) and direct application of the argon beam to the liver (28.6%) can be considered as risky processes in such events. Caution is necessary in the use of an argon beam in liver surgery to avoid life-threatening gas embolism.