Basics of a Dive Accident

The two most serious dive related accidents are Air Embolism (arterial gas embolism), and Decompression Sickness (venous gas embolism). Heart attack, CVA, drowning, trauma, etc. are not diving accidents, though they may be aggravated by the act of diving. Consider all pressure related accidents as directly related to diving, and all other situations as whatever […]

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Recompression

There are two basic classes of diving emergency requiring recompression, air embolism (arterial gas embolism) and the Bends (decompression sickness). Air embolism is the most dangerous diving accident, and is an extreme medical emergency requiring immediate recompression. When a diving accident takes place, and recompression is required, the victim should be transported to a chamber. […]

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Decompression Sickness (The Bends)

Due to the gas laws that effect the diver he cannot go to any depth whenever he pleases. Almost everyone has heard of ”THE BENDS” from old movies and T.V. shows. The picture of the hard hat diver coming up in pain, in a storm, to have a cigarette before going back down to re-compress […]

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Air Embolism (Arterial Gas Embolism, AGE)

When a diver’s airway is shut on ascent the expanding air in the lungs can provoke a rupture of the alveoli, thereby causing air to move into the arteries. The expression arterial gas embolism (AGE) better describes the action than the general term air embolism, and is pulmonary barotrauma following voluntary breath holding, or a […]

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Nitrogen Narcosis

Air contains approximately 78% nitrogen, when it is compressed and breathed under pressure the elevated partial pressure (Dalton’s Law) of nitrogen can have a narcotic type effect. Physiologically inert under normal conditions nitrogen can induce an anesthesia effect at raised pressures. How this effect occurs, is comparable to the way anesthesia gases operate, which is […]

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Subcutaneous Emphysema

Subcutaneous emphysema denotes air under the skin. It is typically seen in divers around the neck. In mild cases it may not even be noticed. When suffering form it the diver may feel a fullness around the neck, and have difficulty swallowing. There may be a noticeable swelling in the affected area. When palpating the […]

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Mediastinal Emphysema

Mediastinal emphysema is the result of gas expanding into the tissues in the center of the chest. Symptoms include mild to moderate pain in the center of the chest. Often depicted as, a dull ache, or feeling of tightness. This discomfort becomes worse with deep inhalation and may radiate to the neck, back or shoulder. […]

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Pneumothorax

Pneumo means: air; lung. Thorax is the chest cavity. Together pneumothorax means air is in the chest or pleural cavity where it is not supposed to be, outside the lungs. The most common cause of pneumothorax is trauma. When seen in a diver the rescuer must assume the cause to be air embolism. There is […]

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Oxygen Poisoning

Oxygen at an elevated partial pressure may have a toxic effect. Surplus oxygen affects the central nervous system (CNS) or the pulmonary system during extended exposure, as in medical therapy. Ordinary air is 21% oxygen at 1 ATM, or sea level with a pressure of 3.09 psi (Dalton’s Law 21% of 14.7 = 3.09). Oxygen […]

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History And Physical Examination

In the field, the Paramedic or E.M.T. are the eyes and ears of the physician. Knowing what happens from onset, to the time the victim gets to the Emergency Room can save a victim’s life. Accomplishing a good PATIENT ASSESSMENT is one of the most important skills a provider can have. A patient assessment is […]

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