Healthcare Paper on Respiratory Care of Scuba Diving Accidents


Scuba diving has its risks related to any kind of exploratory outdoor actions. Furthermore, it has some classic dangers of being exposed to high surrounding pressure when underwater. Through an organized summary of these threats, the doctrines of barotrauma and decompression sickness are explicated. Diving comprises of advantages and a disadvantage; it all depends on how one does it and his/her fate. There could be injuries when diving; besides, deaths also take place when people are diving. Diving works on the fact that one is cautious and self-principled as much as possible. The good principles for a diver could bear positive impacts. Poor principles from a diver could result in negative effects. Some of the injuries and illness are treatable as it all depends on how quick the victim is to look for care. Diving needs training, and there exist bodies that deal with the coaching of divers.


Respiratory Care of Scuba Diving Accidents

Scuba diving is a method whereby divers employ equipment which is self-contained while underwater thus assists them to breathe when diving. Dissimilar from other methods of diving, which depend on breath-hold or rather eupnoea provided under pressure from the earth, scuba divers move with their individual holders of breathing gas. Normally, they carry compressed gas, which enables them to move for long distances and assists them to endure for long when under water. Scuba apparatus may either be open circuit whereby exhaled gas is discharged to the environment, or a closed circuit where breathing gas is rubbed to eliminate carbon dioxide; at this point, oxygen is refilled from a source of feed gas before the air is drawn in (Benton & Glover, 2006). A scuba diver majorly propels underwater by employing fins, which are attached to the feet. External movement is usually provided by a diver propulsion vehicle, or a sledge, which is pulled from the surface. Divers’ equipment comprises of diving suit, dive mask, which advances underwater, generates visual sensation, and regulates buoyancy respectively. Scuba divers are taught on the processes and skills suitable to their degree of certification by directors connected with diver certification organizations, which give out these documentations. Certifications comprise of basic operating processes for employing the equipment and handling general dangers of underwater surrounding and emergency measures for one to help a correspondingly armed diver facing problems. A considerable level of health and aptness is needed by the majority of training administrators.

The History of Scuba Diving

In the twentieth century, two staple arrangements for scuba were developed, which included open circuit and closed circuit scuba. Initially, closed circuits were established for fleeing and rescue functions. The initial commercially effective scuba closed circuit was projected and erected by a diving engineer, Henry Fleuss, in 1878. Henrys’ self-contained equipment comprised of a rubber mask, which was linked to a breathing bag. Robert Davis enhanced the oxygen equipment, which could be used to breathe for several times in 1990 (Coelho & Fielitz, 2006). The equipment for a long time has been employed by civilians for diversion, particularly since after the cold war. This assisted the communist bloc as it helped them to detect their enemies. The primary commercially productive scuba sets were referred to as Aqualung open circuits, which were established by Emile Gagnan and Cousteau by 1943. In these open-circuits units, the compacted air is carried in back mounted cylinders that are inhaled via a demand controller and finally exhaled into the water near the tank. The two stage single hose originated from Australia where Porpoise scuba gear was established by Eldred. The single hose controller splits the demand regulator from the cylinder providing the diver with air at low pressure at the mouth, instead of ambient force on the cylinder valve. Scuba was formerly known as the United States combat.

Physics Law Involved in Scuba Diving and How They Applied to the Injuries

The Boyle’s Law outlines that, at a constant temperature, pressure and volume are inversely proportional, as when one increases the other decreases. For instance, when a balloon is compressed underwater it shrinks as its volume is compacted. Equally, a balloon compacted underwater and relinquished expands and could burst as it moves up and its volume enlarges. This principle is the basis of scuba protection training to avoid barotrauma or injury to the body from modifying pressure. Boyle’s law outlines that when a diver breathes in from a scuba tank, the air moves to the plunger’s lungs as it is at closing pressure (Edge, 2008). The increase in volume accompanied by a decrease in pressure can be witnessed from gas bubbles exhaled by a plunger as he/she rises towards the surface. The breathed out bubbles are minute at depth and rise in size as a diver travels towards the surface. According to Boyle’s law, a diver should not ascend while holding his/her breath as the expanding air could enlarge the plunger’s lungs that would lead to pulmonary barotrauma.

Henry’s law outlines that, the solubility of a fluid is directly relative to the partial pressure of the gas above the liquid. The association of this law to scuba divers is that as depth rises the amount of a gas liquefied in the plunger’s blood will also increase. Oxygen is used by the body’s physiological progressions; nevertheless, nitrogen is physiologically inert. Nitrogen dissolving in a diver’s blood depends on the time taken at depth. In the course of long dives, a large amount of nitrogen could be dissolved in plunger’s bloodstream. When a diver arises the partial pressure of nitrogen lowers and in line with Henry’s law, the dissolved nitrogen starts to emerge from the solution. Nitrogen bubbles are made in the plunger’s bloodstream, which could contribute to decompression sickness (Michel, 2009). The treatment of decompression sickness usually contains numerous sessions in hyperbaric oxygen compartment. When in training, divers are shown how to live within dive period and depth bounds to reduce their jeopardy of decompression sickness and arise gently from every dive.

Pathophysiology of Injuries Involved in Scuba Diving

Arterial gas embolism takes place as gas enters in the arterial circulation. Arterial gas embolism may also take place once the venous gas bubbles move directly from the veins to the arterial movement from the right to left shunt. Once the venous gas emboli reach the lungs, they are normally sieved at arteriole level (Germonpré, 2006). Decompression sickness is a multi-system disorder arising from the evolution of gas molecules that are usually dissolved in tissues. Nevertheless, when the pulmonary arterial pressure increases, which is obvious once a diver uses scuba, the bubbles could pass into the arteriole movement. The bubbles would then move to critical organs, for instance, nervous system and remain in the arterioles and capillary beds, which cause the growth of decompression indications. Pulmonary barotrauma takes place in the course of scuba diving once the expanding gas in the air sacs is not able to get away by the airways. After a scuba diver who has been inhaling and exhaling compacted gas at depth arises, the gas within the lungs should be permitted to get away. When the diver either misses to exhale or there are resident pockets of ensnared gas in cysts, the trapped volume of air would enlarge as per Boyle’s law, which would cause the tearing of the lung parenchyma. Pulmonary barotrauma is believed to take place amid adjacent enlarging parts of the lung, which have non-heterogeneous compliance. Pulmonary barotrauma is more likely to take place close to the surface, as the largest rate pressure modification takes place. Arterial gas embolism ascends from pulmonary barotrauma. The gas that approaches the pulmonary veins is quickly reverted to the left side of the heart and finally reallocated as per the buoyancy about the body. Arterial gas embolism usually causes neurological indications with a variety of symptoms, which comprise a motor and sensory abnormalities, seizures, paralysis, and death. The injury sequence from arterial gas embolism is usually diphasic with a series of periods of recovery, temporary neurological dysfunction and finally further deterioration due to emboli of vessels. Injury severity and the degree of bubble absorption are relative to their size.

Acquiring of a Certification for Scuba Diving

A diving certification card is a written account confirming that an individual or an organization is empowered to do so. It outlines that the bearer of the document has finished a course or training as obligated by the agency supplying the cards. This is alleged to signify a defined state of ability and know-how in underwater diving. Divers are expected to carry with them the certification card, which may be needed to attest that they are eligible when booking in dive trips, filling diving containers, and hiring scuba apparatus (Grover & Grover, 2014). Even though recreational credentials are given by several diverse divers’ training organizations, the admission level qualification is not always similar. Different organizations have dissimilar admission entry level alongside with diverse requirements of grades. All these levels enhance a diver’s skills and knowledge in his/her career. A diver certificate card comprises of name and logo of the certifying organization, the name of the certified person, reference or serial number, instructor’s name, date, and type of certification.

Statistics of People Who Dive Every Year and the Number That Becomes Sick and Die from Diving

Inadequate Gas Supply

In the United States, there are approximately 150 deaths each year emanating from scuba diving. Current survey found that in 55% of fatalities, the diver’s gas was running out or was out of gas (Levett & Millar, 2008). When apparatus was verified following deaths, a small number of victims had a plenteous gas supply left. The survey specified that majority of difficulties commenced when the diver became conscious of low gas. About 81% of the divers passed way as they were attempting to snorkel on the surface, actually to preserve air. The scarcity of air may influence the diver’s ability to deal with a subsequent difficulty, which may advance during the exercise.

Buoyancy Problems

There are about 16 fatalities for every 100000 divers in the US each year. There are about three million divers in America. According to a survey, fifty-two percent of the fatalities had buoyancy difficulties. The majority of these were because of inadequate buoyancy. Nonetheless, eight percent had more than enough buoyancy (Levett & Millar, 2008). Buoyancy troubles were the collective generators of events that lead to deaths. Buoyancy variations related with wetsuits were found to be an important factor. Regarding a formula for estimated weight necessity based on wetsuit style and thickness, forty percent of the divers who passed away were proved over-weight at the surface. This would have been exacerbated by suit compression at depth. A properly weighted diver should be neutrally afloat at or near the surface having cylinders when almost empty. According to this state, descending and ascending are similarly easy. This needs the diver to be a little negative at the start of the dive. In order to suit compression, one should be simply reimbursed by limited inflation of the buoyancy compensator. The exercise of over-weighing is hazardous as it may overcome the capacity of the buoyancy compensator and make the perkiness change with depth, which is problematic to correct.

Buddy System Failures

Despite the overall approval, training, and recommendation of the friend system by the majority of people, only 15% of divers who died had their pals with them at the time. 5% of the fatalities were associated with inconveniences of buddy breathing. As per death certificates, more than eight percent of the deaths were eventually ascribed to drowning, while other features normally combined to disable the diver in a system of proceedings ending in sinking. Frequently, drowning conceals the ultimate cause of death. Scuba divers should not drown if there are no other contributory factors as they move with a source of breathing gas and apparatus intended to deliver the gas on demand. Sinking takes place because of preceding difficulties, for instance, pulmonary barotrauma, cardiac disease, unmanageable, stress, environmental risks, equipment problems and lack of managing the gas supply (Madden, Ljubkovic, & Dujic, 2015). According to statistics, the real cause of death is changing day to day. Even though drowning and arterial gas embolisms are rated as the main grounds for diver deaths, affirming these as solitary reasons does not acknowledge any pre-existing health affairs. Researchers may recognize the real causes of death; nevertheless, the series of events that steered to the basis of death is usually not clear, particularly when the resident administrators or pathologists make assumptions.

Treatments for Scuba Diving Injuries

Decompression sickness commonly known as divers’ disease defines a disorder ascending from dissolved gasses emerging inform of solution into bubbles interior of the body depressurization as bubbles could move to any part of the body. Decompression sickness can create many symptoms, and its impacts may influence forms of joint pains and efflorescence to paralysis and finally death. Once susceptibility can contrast from day to day, dissimilar individuals beneath similar conditions could be influenced contrarily. Vulnerability to decompression sickness on diving could be controlled via suitable measures and contracting the disorder is currently uncommon. Probability harshness has motivated a lot of research to avert it. Dive computers are employed to limit divers’ exposure and regulate their speed. When decompression sickness is contracted, it is cured by hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which takes place in the recompression chamber (Nuckton, Simeone, & Phelps, 2015). When treated earlier, there are higher chances of an effective recovery. Decompression sickness is categorized by symptoms that include: staggers at the initial stages, skeletal pain, and breathing problems. Dysbarism comprises decompression sickness, barotrauma, and arterial gas embolism. Decompression sickness and arterial gas embolism are normally categorized together as decompression illness while a specific diagnosis cannot be made. Decompression sickness and arterial gas embolism are treated correspondingly as they are mutually caused by gas bubbles inside the body. Whereas bubbles can take place anywhere in the body, decompression sickness is often observed in the shoulders, elbows, ankles, and knees.

Every diving injury ought to be treated with a maximum amount of oxygen. Indicators of decompression illness may be detained for about twenty-four hours then one hundred percent oxygen given through non-breather mask should be provided to any diagnostic patient who may have been diving for long hours. This also applies for small presentations, for instance, mild pain, extreme fatigue, and visual disturbances. Breathing of pure oxygen cleans most of the inert gas from the lungs thus forming the maximum possible concentration gradient to eliminate dissolved nitrogen bubbles from the tissues and blood (Richards, 2013). Maximization of oxygen concentration in the blood stream reduces the damaging of tissues from the formation of bubbles. Airways should be maintained, and respiratory menace treated all through the process. Further-alveolar air ending in a tension pneumothorax should be handled with needle decompression except when a hyperbaric chamber is directly obtainable. Instantaneously recompressing of the patient ought to resolve the pneumothorax. Tardy decompression employing the United States Navy treatment table could permit one to reverse the diver back to standard pressure with no recreation of the air in the interpleural vacuum and evade the need for putting a chest tube throughout the stay in a hospital. Division of usual outcomes in moderate hem concentration for an infusion of IV normal saline is essential. One should avoid solutions comprising of glucose and hypotonic solutions when caring for a dive-associated illness or injury. Numerous medications encompassing aspirin, lidocaine, and anti-inflammatories have been recommended for treating decompression illness.

The appearance of bubbles in the blood or body tissues after being exposed to greater-than-normal pressure was originally termed “the bends.” The diving injuries and illnesses connected with ascent should be moved to a hyperbaric installation, and, if possible, a center in service for the multiplace hyperbaric chamber. Recompressing the patient inside the chamber could resolve the indicators of decompression illness by driving the bubbles back into solution, following a sluggish ascent reverse to surface pressure while inhaling oxygen. Even though there is no time boundary to start recompression, conveyance to the hyperbaric facility ought not to be delayed (Van Ooij, Hollmann, van Hulst, & Sterk, 2013). Air conveyance would further decrease pressure about the diver and worsen decompression illness thus ground transportation is preferred. When the conveyance period by ground is not appropriate, a helicopter flight at the lowest safe altitude or a permanent wing transportation having the cabin pressurized is preferred. When possible, the diver’s apparatus, dive logbook, and a computer should be brought to the sanatorium for treating physician to restructure the current dive profiles and choose the suitable recompression protocol. One should not give painkillers for assumed decompression illness. Disguising the symptoms could make it impossible for a physician to weigh the success of recompression therapy. When analgesia is needed to treat related trauma, short-acting agents, for instance, nitrous oxide is preferable.


Diving is enjoyable when done in the appropriate method. Divers should ensure that they meet all the requirements for them to save moments in their recreation period. All equipment required for a diver to take place in the diving process should be employed. This could reduce injuries related to diving. The rarity of decompression illness with the inclusion of all diving injuries could make it difficult for physicians to appropriately diagnose and provide care for the injuries. Giving a hundred percent oxygen and quick transport to a hyperbaric facility ought to be the commencing point for any alleged diving connected injury. Divers should seek advice from the relevant authorities for any concepts not well understood.




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