Pulmonary barotrauma


  • Occurs when diver breathing compressed air ascends too rapidly

Clinical Features

  • Symptoms occur minutes to hours after surfacing
    • Can occur without rapid ascent in patients with obstructive lung disease
  • Lung rupture can lead to:

Differential Diagnosis

Diving Emergencies

Barotrauma Types


  • Clinical diagnosis; do not delay intervention for studies
  • CXR
  • Assess for alternate etiologies


  • Pneumomediastinum and pneumothorax do not require recompression; see management section on those pages
  • Air embolism
    • IVF (increases tissue perfusion)
    • Rapid recompression

See Also


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