Degassed liquids to prevent/treat decompression sickness

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Recompression and oxygen breathing constitute the primary treatments for decompression sickness (DCS). Increasing the volume of distribution of dissolved gas with high-volume liquid therapy represents an alternative strategy to prevent or treat DCS. Furthermore, degassing of ingested and infused liquids would increase their potential to keep supersaturated tissue gases in solution after decompression. We hypothesize that administration of degassed liquids will prevent or reverse mild-moderate DCS by increasing the volume of distribution of dissolved gas in DCS victims. Degassed perfluorocarbon ingestion offers particularly attractive potential: one liter theoretically dissolves ∼300 ml of N2 in vivo at 1 atm. One could speculate that degassed liquids may adequately treat mild DCS in lieu of recompression, particularly DCS expressed in 'fast compartment' (well-perfused) tissues. Furthermore, degassed liquid administration should prove to be even more effective adjunct therapy for severe DCS than present gas-saturated liquids. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.




Watenpaugh, D. E. (2003). Degassed liquids to prevent/treat decompression sickness. Medical Hypotheses, 60(5), 720–723.

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