Intravascular bubble composition in guinea pigs: a possible explanation for differences in decompression risk among different gases

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Intravascular bubble composition in guinea pigs: a possible explanation for differences in decompression risk among different gases

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Title: Intravascular bubble composition in guinea pigs: a possible explanation for differences in decompression risk among different gases
Author: Lillo, RS; Maccallum, ME; Caldwell, JM
Abstract: Differences in risk of decompression sickness (DCS) that have been observed among inert gases may reflect differences in gas solubility or diffusivity or both. A higher risk gas might generate a larger volume of evolved gas during decompression, thereby increasing the probability of DCS. If this hypothesis is correct, the composition of bubbles that develop during decompression should reflect such gas differences. Unanesthetized guinea pigs were compressed to depths ranging from 250 to 350 fsw with air, He-O2 (21% O2) or one of a number of N2-He-O2 or N2-Ar-O2 mixtures (21% O2). Animals were held at depth from 15 to 60 min, then decompressed slowly (60 fsw/min) or rapidly (less than 15 s) to 5 fsw. If severe DCS developed, as judged by changes in physiologic variables, death usually occurred quickly. Gas/blood samples were then immediately withdrawn from the right atrium or the inferior vena cava, and the gas phase analyzed for He, N2, Ar, O2, and CO2 via gas chromatography. Bubbles from all dives contained 5-9% CO2, 1-4% O2, with the balance inert gas. Bubbles after N2-He-O2 dives contained substantially more N2 than He (up to 1.9 times more) compared to the dive mixture; bubbles after N2-Ar-O2 dives contained more Ar than N2 (up to 1.8 times more). For N2-He-O2 dives, the actual inert gas makeup of bubbles was dependent on the time-at-depth and the decompression profile. Results may reflect differences among He, N2, and Ar in tissue solubility/diffusivity and gas exchange rates, and support the rank order of increasing DCS risk (He less than N2 less than Ar) and rate of gas exchange (N2 less than He) observed previously during rat dives.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc. (http://www.uhms.org )
URI: PMID: 1355314
http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2613
Date: 1992

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  • Undersea Biomedical Research Journal
    The Undersea Baromedical Research journal was published by the Undersea Medical Society, Inc. (now the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society) quarterly from 1974 to 1992 when the name changed to the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Journal.

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