Barotrauma of the lungs

Barotrauma of the lungs is a rupture of the lung tissue and the penetration of gas bubbles into the bloodstream.

The reasons

The cause of the rupture is a sharp increase or decrease in pressure in the lungs compared to the surrounding:

    • Holding your breath while swimming
    • Excess free ascent speed
    • Blow or sharp pressure on the breathing bag.
    • Coughing


The appearance of the disease depends on the size of the ruptures of the lung tissue and blood vessels, as well as on the number of gas bubbles and their location.

    • Loss of consciousness due to reflex spasm of cerebral vessels.
    • Pulmonary haemorrhage in the form of bloody-foamy sputum or pure blood from the mouth, especially when coughing.
    • Pain behind the sternum due to irritation of nerve endings during stretching of the lung tissue.
    • Blueness of the face.
    • Frequent unstable pulse of weak filling.
    • Frequent shallow breathing. Exhalation is especially difficult, which is accompanied by coughing and pain. It is not often that wheezing is heard at a distance, sometimes respiratory arrest begins.
    • General weakness, which is explained by increasing oxygen starvation.
    • Various neuro-cerebral disorders, manifested in pain in muscles, joints, cuts, paralysis of limbs and organs, as well as loss of consciousness due to impaired cerebral circulation (gas bubbles clog the vessels of the brain).

There are also hidden forms of barotrauma of the lungs, which are manifested by minor pain behind the sternum, prolonged cough, and weakness. This is more common in scuba divers.


Diagnosis of pulmonary barotrauma is based not only on the clinical manifestations of the disease, but also equally on the test of the conditions for its occurrence.


A radical method of treating the disease is therapeutic recompression. As a result of placing the victim in conditions of increased pressure (7-10 ati or 0.8-1.1 MPa), a proportional decrease in the volume of gas formations in the tissues and blood vessels begins, and their subsequent dissolution. In the process of therapeutic recompression according to the special regimes of the Rules of the Diving Service (II, III, IV), also after its completion, symptomatic therapy is carried out according to indications.

In the absence of breathing, its sharp weakening or pathological rhythms, artificial ventilation of the lungs is performed.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *