To visualize the circumstances involved in rapid or explosive decompression one can picture himself being raised from the ground to a height of one and one-half to two miles in less than three seconds. By definition, one distinguishes between rapid and explosive decompression on the basis of the rate of pressure change. With a slow climb the expansion of the gas in the lungs or gastrointestinal tract is gradual and the excess volume is expelled to the atmosphere; so there is no increase in pressure within the internal organ. If, however, the gas is expanded at such a rate that it cannot escape from the bronchial tree and trachea fast enough to accommodate the increased volume, a pressure rise occurs in the alveoli. In general, decompression of a pressurized aircraft cabin in less than one second is designated explosive. When the time interval over which the decompression occurs is greater
Pryor WW, Marks G. EVALUATION OF PULMONARY FUNCTION AFTER RAPID OR EXPLOSIVE DECOMPRESSION. JAMA. 1954;156(13):1233–1235. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950130015003
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