Treatment of decompression sickness in swine with intravenous perfluorocarbon emulsion.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


We examined an adjunctive treatment for severe decompression sickness (DCS) to be used when hyperbaric treatment is delayed or unavailable.


It has been hypothesized that intravenous perfluorocarbon (PFC) emulsion combined with 100% inspired O2 would improve the outcome in severe DCS.


Swine (n = 45) were compressed to 4.9 ATA on air for 22 h and brought directly to 1 ATA at 0.9 ATA min(-1). The animals were then randomized to three groups. The first group breathed ambient air, the second group breathed 100% O2, and a third group received 6 ml x kg(-1) of perflubron emulsion (Oxygent) intravenously and breathed 100% O2. Outcomes of neurological and cardiopulmonary DCS and death were recorded.


Animals that received PFC emulsion sustained less DCS (p < 0.01) than the other groups (53% vs. 93%). No animals in the PFC group sustained neurological DCS, which was present in 69% of the subjects in the other two groups.


O2 breathing postdive did not significantly reduce morbidity or mortality in this model. Postdive treatment with PFC emulsion and 100% O2 decreased the incidence of DCS after nonstop decompression from saturation.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dromsky, DM; Spiess, BD; Fahlman, A

Published Date

  • April 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 75 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 301 - 305

PubMed ID

  • 15086118

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1943-4448

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0095-6562


  • eng