Bubble formation during altitude exposures, causing altitude decompression sickness (aDCS), has been referred to in theoretical models as venous gas embolisms (VGE). This has also been demonstrated by intravascular gas formation. Previous reports indicate that the formation of VGE and aDCS incidence increase abruptly for exposures exceeding 40-44 kPa ambient pressures. Further, extravascular micro air bubbles injected into adipose tissue grow transiently, then shrink and disappear while breathing oxygen (F1O2 = 1.0) at 71 kPa. At 25 kPa similar air bubbles will grow and stabilize during oxygen breathing without disappearing. We hypothesize that an ambient pressure threshold for either extravascular bubble stabilization or disappearance may be identified between 71 and 25 kPa. Whether extravascular bubbles will stabilize above a certain threshold has not been demonstrated before.
Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 2013, Vol 84, Issue 7, p. 675-683