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December 6, 1965

Scuba Diving and Laryngospasm

Author Affiliations

USN Exp Diving Unit Washington, DC

JAMA. 1965;194(10):1153. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090230121052

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To the Editor:—  I read Dr. Huss's answer and wondered at the time, as did Dr. Bowen, whether Dr. Huss was fully aware of the mechanism of air embolism. Yet, I felt that the answer given was excellent, since it mentioned all treatment requirements subsequent to an unconscious diver being brought to the surface, which is when he will be initially seen by most physicians.The scuba diver is taught to exhale sufficiently on ascent so that the air in his lungs, expanding in accordance with Boyle's Law, will be released to avoid lung overpressure. An unconscious diver with a relaxed larynx would not trap air in his lungs and overpressurize them on ascent. The outward expansion of the air in the lungs with decreasing water pressure would probably be sufficient to keep water out, just as a swimmer keeps water out of his nostrils by exhaling through his nose.

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