With the rapid increase in air transportation occurring in this country, the effects on certain disease processes of reduced barometric pressure take on growing clinical importance. The levels attained in commercial airline transportation today at times are sufficient to allow of a 50 to 100 per cent expansion of air or gas contained in one of the body cavities.
It has long been recognized that reduced barometric pressure with its attendant reduction in the partial pressure of inspired oxygen affects unfavorably some pathologic states, particularly cardiac and pulmonary diseases. Especially interesting, however, have been those cases in which the expansion of air or gas at a reduced barometric pressure of itself has led to untoward symptoms.
Lovelace and Hinshaw1 have recently drawn attention to the hazards of air transportation to patients with pneumothorax. They point out that the expansion of the air introduced into the pleural cavity may cause
Collins LH. EXCESSIVE ABDOMINAL DISTENTION AT HIGH ALTITUDES IN A CASE OF CONGENITAL MEGACOLON (HIRSCHSPRUNG'S DISEASE). JAMA. 1941;117(12):1012–1013. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.72820380001009
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