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Gas Embolism


Overview :

Gas embolism may occur with decompression from increased pressure; it typically occurs in ascending divers who have been breathing compressed air. If a diver does not fully exhale upon ascent, the air in the lungs expands as the pressure decreases, overinflating the lungs and forcing bubbles of gas (emboli) into the bloodstream. When gas emboli reach the arteries to the brain, the blood blockage causes unconsciousness. Gas embolism is second only to drowning as a cause of death among divers.

Gas embolism may also result from trauma or medical procedures such as catheterization and open heart surgery that allow air into the circulatory system.




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