Barotrauma, otitic & Barotrauma, sinus Classification and external resources ICD-10 T70.0, T70.1 ICD-9 993.0, 993.1 DiseasesDB 3491 eMedicine emerg/53 MeSH D001469
Barotrauma is physical damage to body tissues caused by a difference in pressure between an air space inside or beside the body and the surrounding fluid. In addition to humans, and in contrast with Avian lungs, bats suffer fatal barotrauma around wind farms.
Barotrauma typically occurs to air spaces within a body when that body moves to or from a higher pressure environment, such as when a SCUBA diver, a free-diving diver or an airplane passenger ascends or descends, or during uncontrolled decompression of a pressure vessel. Boyle's law defines the relationship between the volume of the air space and the ambient pressure.
Damage occurs in the tissues around the body's air spaces because gases are compressible and the tissues are not. During increases in ambient pressure, the internal air space provides the surrounding tissues with little support to resist the higher external pressure. During decreases in ambient pressure, the higher pressure of the gas inside the air spaces causes damage to the surrounding tissues if that gas becomes trapped.
Types of injury
Examples of organs or tissues easily damaged by barotrauma are:
- middle ear (barotitis or aerotitis)
- paranasal sinuses (causing Aerosinusitis)
- eyes (the unsupportive air space is inside the diving mask)
- skin (when wearing a diving suit which creates an air space)
- bone (bone necrosis and temporal lobe injury)
- Teeth (causing Barodontalgia, i.e. barometric pressure related dental pain, or dental fractures)
Barotrauma can affect the external, middle, or inner ear. Middle ear barotrauma (MEBT) is the most common being experienced by between 10% and 30% of divers and is due to insufficient equilibration of the middle ear. External ear barotrauma may occur on ascent if high pressure air is trapped in the external auditory canal either by tight fitting SCUBA equipment or ear wax. Inner ear barotrauma (IEBT) though much less common than MEBT shares a similar mechanism. Mechanical trauma to the inner ear can lead to varying degrees of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss as well as vertigo.
Pulmonary (lung) pressure damage in scuba divers is usually caused by breath-holding on ascent. The compressed gas in the lungs expands as the ambient pressure decreases causing the lungs to over expand and rupture unless the diver breathes out. The lungs do not sense pain when over-expanded giving the diver little warning to prevent the injury. This does not affect breath-hold skin divers as they bring a lungfull of air with them from the surface, which merely re-expands safely to near its original volume on ascent. The problem only arises if a breath of compressed gas is taken at depth, which will then expand on ascent to more than the lung volume. Pulmonary barotrauma may also be caused by explosive decompression of a pressurised aircraft.
When diving, the pressure differences needed to cause the barotrauma come from two sources:
- descending and ascending in water. There are two components to the surrounding pressure acting on the diver: the atmospheric pressure and the water pressure. A descent of 10 metres (33 feet) in water increases the ambient pressure by approximately the pressure of the atmosphere at sea level. So, a descent from the surface to 10 metres (33 feet) underwater results in a doubling of the pressure on the diver.
- breathing gas at depth from SCUBA equipment results in the lungs containing gas at a higher pressure than atmospheric pressure. So a free-diving diver can dive to 10 metres (33 feet) and safely ascend without exhaling, because the gas in the lungs had been inhaled at atmospheric pressure, whereas a SCUBA diver who breathes at 10 metres and ascends without exhaling has lungs containing gas at twice atmospheric pressure and is very likely to suffer life-threatening lung damage.
Avoidance and treatment
Diving barotrauma can be avoided by eliminating any pressure differences acting on the tissue or organ by equalizing the pressure. There are a variety of techniques:
- The air spaces in the ears, and the sinuses. The risk is burst eardrum. Here, the diver can use a variety of methods, to let air into the middle ears via the Eustachian tubes. Sometimes swallowing will open the Eustachian tubes and equalise the ears.
- The lungs. The risk includes pneumothorax, arterial gas embolism, and mediastinal and subcutanous emphysemas. which are commonly called burst lung or lung overpressure injury by divers. To equalise, all that is necessary is not to hold the breath during ascent. This risk does not arise when snorkel diving from the surface, unless the snorkeller breathes from a high pressure gas source underwater, or from submerged air pockets. Some people have pathologies of the lung which prevent rapid flow of excess air though the passages, which can lead to lung barotrauma even if the breath is not held during rapid depressurisation. These people should not dive as the risk is unacceptably high. Most commercial or military diving medical examinations will look specifically for signs of this pathology.
- The air inside the usual eyes-and-nose diving mask (also known as a half mask). The main risk is bleeding around the eyes from the negative pressure or orbital emphysema from higher pressures. Here, let air into the mask through the nose. Do not dive in eyes-only goggles as sometimes seen on land with industrial breathing sets.
- Air spaces inside a dry suit. The main risk is folds of skin getting pinched inside folds of the drysuit. Most modern drysuits have a tube connection to feed air in from the cylinder. Air must be injected on the descent and vented on the ascent.
Following barotrauma of the ears or lungs from diving the diver should not dive again until thoroughly cleared by a doctor, which can take many months. 
Use of a hyperbaric chamber. Patients undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy must learn to equalize in order to avoid barotrauma. Some patients may be at greater risk of otic barotrauma than others.
Blast induced barotrauma
An explosive blast and explosive decompression create a pressure wave that can induce barotrauma. The difference in pressure between internal organs and the outer surface of the body causes injuries to internal organs that contain gas, such as the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and ear.
Ventilator induced barotrauma
Mechanical ventilation can lead to barotrauma of the lungs. This can be due to either:
- absolute pressures used in order to ventilate non-compliant lungs.
- shearing forces, particularly associated with rapid changes in gas velocity.
- Alternobaric vertigo
- Bell's Palsy
- Dental barotrauma
- Diving hazards and precautions
- Jet ventilation
- Uncontrolled decompression
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Consequences of external causes (T66–T78, 990–995) Temperature/radiationreduced temperature: Hypothermia · Immersion foot syndromes (Trench foot • Tropical immersion foot • Warm water immersion foot) · Chilblains · Frostbite · Cold intolerance • Acrocyanosis • Erythrocyanosis crurumradiation: Radiation poisoning · Radiation burn · Chronic radiation keratosis • Eosinophilic, polymorphic, and pruritic eruption associated with radiotherapy • Radiation acne • Radiation cancer • Radiation recall reaction • Radiation-induced erythema multiforme • Radiation-induced hypertrophic scar • Radiation-induced keloid • Radiation-induced morphea Air Food Maltreatment Emesis Adverse effect Other Ungrouped
physical factorsDermatosis neglecta • Pinch mark • Pseudoverrucous papules and nodules • Sclerosing lymphangiitis • Tropical anhidrotic asthenia • UV-sensitive syndrome
environmental skin conditions: Electrical burn • frictional/traumatic/sports (Black heel and palm • Equestrian perniosis • Jogger's nipple • Pulling boat hands • Runner's rump • Surfer's knots • Tennis toe • Vibration white finger • Weathering nodule of ear • Wrestler's ear • Coral cut • Painful fat herniation ) • Uranium dermatosisiv use (Skin pop scar • Skin track • Slap mark • Pseudoacanthosis nigricans • Narcotic dermopathy)
Underwater diving Types: Specialities: Equipment: Disciplines: Hazards: Related:
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Look at other dictionaries:
barotrauma — m. traumat. Toda lesión provocada por una variación de la presión, tanto por su aumento como por su disminución. El sistema nervioso, el oído y los senos frontales y maxilares son los órganos que se ven más afectados. Medical Dictionary. 2011 … Diccionario médico
Barotrauma — (n) eng barotrauma … Arbeitssicherheit und Gesundheitsschutz Glossar
barotrauma — barotràuma ž DEFINICIJA pat. ukupnost pojava uzrokovanih razlikama atmosferskog ili podvodnog tlaka; kemijske, fizičke i biološke pojave u organizmu izloženom tlaku ETIMOLOGIJA baro + v. trauma … Hrvatski jezični portal
Barotrauma — Klassifikation nach ICD 10 T70.0 Barotrauma, Ohr T70.1 Barotrauma, Nasennebenhöhlen T70.2 … Deutsch Wikipedia
barotrauma — /bar euh trow meuh, traw /, n., pl. barotraumata / meuh teuh/, barotraumas. Pathol. injury of certain organs, esp. the ear, due to a change in the atmospheric pressure. Cf. aerotitis media. [BARO + TRAUMA] * * * ▪ physiology any of several… … Universalium
barotrauma — An injury caused by expansion or contraction of trapped gases in the body resulting from changes in pressure. It can lead to pain in the ears (otitic barotrauma), the sinuses (sinus baro trauma), and the intestines. One example of barotruauma is… … Aviation dictionary
Barotrauma — Druckverletzung * * * Barotrauma, Medizin: Bezeichnung für Gesundheitsstörungen durch Unter oder Überdruck in lufthaltigen Körperhöhlen durch schnellen Luftdruckwechsel beim Tauchen oder Fliegen; führt z. B. im Mittelohr bis zum Druckausgleich… … Universal-Lexikon
barotrauma — noun Date: 1937 injury of a body part or organ as a result of changes in barometric pressure … New Collegiate Dictionary
barotrauma — an injury that results from rapid or extreme changes in pressure. Found in fishes pulled from depths rapidly or in humans where may simply be a discomfort in the ear based on differing pressures on either side of the ear drum … Dictionary of ichthyology
barotrauma — noun Damage to body tissue caused by a difference in pressure between an air space in or near the body and the surrounding air … Wiktionary