Hyperbaric medicine


Humans have evolved to a terrestrial life where the surrounding air pressure remains relatively constant at 101.3 kPa (or 1 ata or bar). However, aided by diving equipment man now explores the sea. Diving operations at great depths are vital to sustain the energy demand of the western civilisation, and millions of amateur divers enjoy diving as a recreational activity worldwide.

In water, the surrounding hydrostatic pressure increase linearly with 101.3 kPa per every 10 meter of water, and the diver is therefore exposed to severe relative pressures changes. Both direct and indirect adverse effects may evolve from pressure exposure and following decompression. Accordingly, the underlying biological alterations resulting from diving should be understood and this is the focus of the biomedical hyperbaric research performed in the lab.