Bile that gains access to the venous circulation will embolize to the lung. A large bolus of bile may be fatal. Because of the rarity of the condition it is unlikely to be made without histology, typically taken at autopsy.


Conditions or procedures that have preceded bile embolism:

(1) trauma to the liver

(2) cholecystectomy

(3) endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

(4) transcutaneous bile drainage

(5) liver biopsy


Clinical features may include:

(1) sudden collapse

(2) hypoxemia


Concurrent air emboli may also be present. These could be identified on imaging studies.


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