Physiology #15 – Lung over-expansion injury

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the series Physiology

State the most serious form of lung over-expansion injury in diving, how it occurs, and what factors can contribute to its occurrence.

The most serious form of lung over-expansion injury in diving is an air embolism because air bubbles enter the arterial circulation. There are three other forms (remember them from your PADI Divemaster course?) of lung over-expansion injuries which are serious too, but if air bubbles block the blood flow to  the organs – brain – they might not get enough blood and encounter serious damage. The diver will become unconscious within seconds and might drown underwater.

Some factors which contribute to lung over-expansion injury:

Watch your ascent rate with a dive computer to prevent DCS and never stop breathing to prevent lung over-expansion injury

Watch your ascent rate with a dive computer

  • Smoking
  • Diving after severe chest cold
  • Cold water diving
  • Exercise after a dive
  • Exertion underwater
  • Obesity

In order to prevent air embolism (any lung over-expansion injury) from happening you always have to dive according to dive tables and common procedures. NEVER STOP BREATHING UNDERWATER AND BE A S.A.F.E. DIVER – SLOWLY ASCENT FROM EVERY DIVE. Never dive alone and do not drink alcohol when diving. Obviously do not smoke and avoid medications that impair your judgement.

That was our Dive Theory Physiology Series so far. I hope you enjoyed reading about human physiology and diving and that you will find it useful as you go through your PADI Divemaster and Instructor Development courses with Blue Season Bali.

Let me know if you have any questions or you would like to add something by email or comment below.

How are your calculations skills on dive physics? Head over to dive theory physics to find out!

Series NavigationPhysiology #14 – Decompression Sickness

Tom West

Whether you are an experienced Tec Diver or it's your first technical dive, you still need the assurance that your Tec Diving Instructor is someone who is going to be there at all times guiding you through your dives. We are very lucky to have Technical Diving Instructor Trainer and PADI Course Director, Tom West in charge of the technical diving division here at Blue Season Bali.

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