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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 22(3); 2011 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2011;22(3): 253-258.
A Study on Hyperbaric Chambers for Treating Decompression Sickness in the Republic of Korea
Kang Jin Oh, Seong Woo Choi, Jun Sik Park, Seng Uk Lee
Maritime Medical Center, Republic of Korea Navy, Jinhae, Korea. schoi71@chol.com
ABSTRACT
PURPOSE:
With the recent increase in underwater activity, the number of people at risk for decompression sickness has greatly increased. However, an organized medical system for emergency treatment, evacuation, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy of decompression sickness has not been established yet. We collected information about domestic hyperbaric chambers available for treating decompression sickness.
METHODS:
We identified 95 hyperbaric chambers in hospitals, hydrospace construction corporations, military, maritime police, 119 rescue services, and other organizations through a telephone survey. We visited the 95 chambers and collected information about location, operating institutes, chamber specifications, and operational status. Twenty-four oxygen capsules were excluded from the study because of inadequate working pressure.
RESULTS:
Seventy-one hyperbaric chambers available for hyperbaric oxygen therapy were identified among 59 organizations. The hyperbaric chambers were distributed evenly along coastal lines; that is, 21 on the east coast, 26 on the west coast, 21 on the southern coast, and three on Jeju Island. Thirty-eight chambers with maximal working pressure of > or =5 atm could be used for severe decompression sickness and arterial gas embolism treatment. Twenty-nine chambers had a seating capacity equal to-or more than three patients. Twenty-eight chambers had two or more compartments; thus, they could handle complex medical situations. Thirty-eight chambers with medical locks were useful for severe decompression sickness treatment.
CONCLUSION:
A sufficient number of domestic hyperbaric chambers available for treating decompression sickness were distributed evenly along the coastal lines. However, potential barriers need to be overcome to establish an efficient decompression sickness treatment system.
Key words: Diving, Decompression Sickness, Hyperbaric oxygenation therapy
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