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PPL » Human Factors » Entrapped Gasses

10.14 Entrapped Gasses

10.14.2 Define barotrauma.

Barotrauma is the trauma (pain) which can result from excessive differential pressure between the inside and outside of the body, caused by barometric (pressure) changes.



10.14.4 Explain the causes of barotrauma.

Barotrauma can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • changes in air pressure during air travel or scuba diving,
  • rapid changes in altitude, or
  • exposure to high-pressure environments such as deep-sea diving.


The condition can also be caused by medical conditions such as:

  • sinusitis or ear infections, which can make it more difficult for the body to equalize pressure.


In some cases, barotrauma can be prevented by taking steps such as chewing gum or yawning during air travel, or by ascending or descending slowly during scuba diving.


There are certain areas in the human body which can contain gas.  These are:

  • Middle ear, behind the eardrum
  • Sinuses 
  • Stomach
  • Tooth fillings 


With an increase in altitude and the corresponding decrease in pressure, any trapped gas tends to expand

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