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Article
November 27, 1954

EVALUATION OF PULMONARY FUNCTION AFTER RAPID OR EXPLOSIVE DECOMPRESSION

JAMA. 1954;156(13):1233-1235. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950130015003
Abstract

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

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