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December 6, 1965

Scuba Diving and Laryngospasm

JAMA. 1965;194(10):1153. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090230121051

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To the Editor:—  In the July 5 issue of The Journal (193:85, 1965), anoxia, laryngospasm, and unconsciousness in a scuba diver was discussed by John Huss, MD. As I read the question and answer, I realized it was not the proper answer. What the "buddy" diver was concerned about was an overexpansion of the lungs, rupture of the alveoli, and air emboli by this mechanism, rather than air emboli due to the nitrogen gas in the blood-stream.There is a definite physical relationship between pressure and volume among gases; ie, a diver's lungs may contain 2 liters of air at 3 atmospheres of pressure. This same 2 liters of air would expand to 4 liters at 2 atm of pressure and to 8 liters at 1 atm or sea-level pressure. Consequently, a normal ascent from the depths requires a diver to blow off approximately 6 liters of air without

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