Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Decompression Accidents — Potential Applications to Space Station Operation 860927

Since 1974, the University of Southern California’s Catalina Marine Science Center (CMSC) Hyperbaric Chamber Facility has treated 302 cases of decompression sickness and cerebral air embolism. The U.S. Navy hyperbaric oxygen treatment tables are almost universally accepted and used, and are highly successful. The method consists of administering 100% O2 by mask intermittently in a hyperbaric chamber at pressures of 2.73 and 1.82 ATA, and 50% N2/50% 02 at 6.00 ATA.
This paper briefly reviews: 1) the pathophysiology of air embolism and decompression sickness, 2) the basic rationale and goals of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and 3) the specific treatment tables used at CMSC. The experience of 12 years of decompression accident management is discussed with emphasis on treatment table modification, treatment results and problem areas.
Finally, the potential application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for EVA decompression accidents in the future Space Station is discussed.


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