Isobaric Bubble Growth: A Consequence of Altering Atmospheric Gas

Science  01 Nov 1974:
Vol. 186, Issue 4162, pp. 443-444
DOI: 10.1126/science.186.4162.443


During certain treatments of decompression sickness following dives made with compressed air, the U.S. Navy advocates breathing helium-oxygen mixtures. However, stable nitrogen bubbles created within gelatin by decompression have been found to enlarge when the atmosphere was switched from nitrogen to helium without changing ambient pressure. This suggests that decompression sickness would be worsened by switching from nitrogen to helium in the breathing gas mixture.