barotrauma

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Related to Pulmonary barotrauma: mask squeeze

barotrauma

[‚bar·ə′trau̇·mə]
(medicine)
Injury to air-containing structures, such as the middle ears, sinuses, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract, due to unequal pressure differences across their walls.

Barotrauma

 

injury to the ear (less commonly to other organs containing air or gas, such as the lungs and intestines), arising from a sharp change in atmospheric pressure. The tympanic membrane can tolerate even a marked increase in pressure if it occurs slowly, in which case pressure on both sides of the tympanic membrane (on the side of the external auditory meatus and on the side of the tympanic cavity) is equalized through the eustachian tube. In cases of sharp changes (drops) in pressure, for example, in rapid ascents and descents of an airplane, the pressure can be equalized by swallowing (which is why hard candy is given out on an airplane). If the pressure cannot be equalized, the tympanic membrane is sucked in and the pressure is transmitted through the chain of auditory ossicles to the inner ear. At first, a barotrauma is felt as pain in the ear, then hearing is impaired; subsequently, there is noise in the ears and sometimes vertigo. If the drop in pressure is extreme, the tympanic membrane may rupture. Barotrauma occurs in fliers (when diving), parachute jumpers, and divers. Prevention consists in screening persons with clear eustachian tubes for the particular occupations and special training in a pressure chamber.

L. V. NEIMAN

barotrauma

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One example of barotruauma is otitic barotrauma. During ascent, higher pressure in the ear gets equalized. However, during descent, the air from outside is not able to equalize unless there is some action like chewing, swallowing, and valsava maneuver. The situation gets aggravated in case of sinus congestion in which there may not only be pain in the ears during descent but physical injury to the ears.
An injury caused by expansion or contraction of trapped gases in the body resulting from changes in pressure. It can lead to pain in the ears otitic barotrauma, the sinuses sinus barotrauma, and the intestines.
References in periodicals archive ?
1984) point out that not all ascent pulmonary barotraumas are the result of breath holding.
There are several reports in medical literature of pulmonary barotrauma associated with apnoea testing (2-5).
Of the diving-related incidents, 12 followed rapid ascent as a result of inexperience or loss of air; these are presumed to have suffered pulmonary barotrauma with entrainment of air into the pulmonary veins.