Air or Gas Embolism

Air embolism occurs when gas bubbles (emboli) block arterial blood flow. Secondary effects of air embolism include platelets clumping all over and damage to blood vessel walls. Obstructed vessels leak fluid into surrounding tissues. The resulting swelling further reduces tissue blood flow. Although AGE is a major cause of death in diving, it far more often results iatrogenically (caused by medical care) from surgical treatment and diagnostic procedures.

Benefits From Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment

  • Early recompression therapy reduces bubble volume and drives gas into physical solution, while high oxygen pressure washes out inert gas from the bubbles.
  • Higher oxygen levels create a large diffusion gradient for inert gas to leave bubbles.
  • With restored blood flow, poorly oxygenated tissues receive more oxygen and local swelling subsides.
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy reduces ischemic-reperfusion injury.
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy is the CONCLUSIVE treatment for Air or Gas Emboli?it is an AHA Level 1 recommendation as there are no other definitive treatments. (Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society)