Rate of injection

Injection rate is much more important than volume: the lethal volume is inversely proportional to the rate of injection38. For example in dogs, 5 to 8 ml / kg / minute of air or a single bolus injection of 3 ml/kg injected into a vein can cause death. However, if the rate of injection is low, 1400 ml of air can be injected over a period of 460 minutes into the central venous system before the death would occur39.

In man, the lethal rate of injection is estimated around 70 to 100 ml / sec. For perspective, it has been shown that 100 ml / sec of air can enter a central vein catheterised by a 14 gauge needle when a negative pressure of 5 cm of water exists (i.e., as occurs during normal breathing)40.

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