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Undersea Hyperb Med. 2004 Summer;31(2):199-202.

Incidence of oxygen toxicity during the treatment of dysbarism.

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Hyperbaric Treatment Center, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.


Oxygen (O2) toxicity may result from exposure to partial pressures of O2 above 0.6ATA. Potential toxic exposure for divers occurs during the treatment of dysbarism. In the recompression chamber, PO2 may range from 0.9ATA to 3.3ATA depending upon the treatment table employed. This retrospective study examines the nature and incidence of O2 toxicity in 998 patients who underwent recompression treatment at our facility from 1983 through 2001. Only patients evaluated for diving related injury were considered for this study. Of 1189 charts reviewed, 998 patients received recompression and were entered into this study. The total number of treatment exposures was determined as was the total number of O2 toxicity events characterized as either pulmonary or CNS, and patients were divided into male/female analysis. Overall incidence as well as the incidence for both toxicity types was determined, and their occurrence in both male and female patients was ascertained. 2166 recompressions were undertaken, 449 female and 1717 male. The peak PO2 for these treatments ranged from 2.6ATA to 2.9ATA. 155 O2 toxicity events occurred in 152 patients, 49 females and 103 males. Three patients, 2 females and 1 male, had mixed events. Incidence of an O2 toxic event = 7.0 per 100 recompressions. Incidence of pulmonary toxicity overall = 5.0 per 100 recompressions, while CNS events = 2.0 per 100 recompressions with overall seizure rate = 0.6 per 100 recompressions. In females, pulmonary toxicity rate = 6.9 per 100 recompressions, CNS toxicity rate = 4.4 per 100 recompressions with seizures occurring at 1.3 per 100 recompressions. In males, pulmonary toxicity rate = 4.6 per 100 recompressions, CNS toxicity rate = 1.4 per 100 recompressions, and seizures at 0.4 per 100 recompressions.

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