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Risk Factors for Venous Gas Emboli After Decompression from Prolonged Hyperbaric Exposures

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Cameron BA, Olstad CS, Clark JM, Gelfand R, Ochroch EA, Eckenhoff RG. Risk factors for venous gas emboli after decompression from prolonged hyperbaric exposures. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007; 78:493–499.

Introduction: The physical forces governing gas phase nucleation and growth in a liquid would predict less variation in the development of decompression sickness (DCS) than is known to occur in people. Methods: In order to gain insight into the causes of biological susceptibility to DCS, we analyzed a dataset containing 250 human steady-state hyperbaric exposures using multivariate ordinal and linear regression analysis for relationships between venous gas emboli (VGE) and exposure parameters and subject characteristics. Results: In both previously published data and new chamber exposure data, we found that the strongest predictor of VGE magnitude after decompression was the duration and depth of the hyperbaric exposure, as predicted. Of the subject factors, only age was significantly associated with VGE; body mass index (BMI) and gender were not. The relationship between age and VGE strengthened with decompression magnitude. Discussion: These results suggest that the physiology of aging interacts with the mechanism of VGE generation, altering the risk of DCS after decompression.
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Keywords: Diving; age; hyperbaric

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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