Decompression-Related Disorders

  • Andrew A. Pilmanis
  • Jonathan B. Clark


The physiological zone from sea level to 3048 m (10,000 ft.) encompasses the pressure to which humans are well adapted, although if appropriately acclimated, they can survive the summit of Earth’s highest mountain (Mt. Everest at 8850 m/29,028 ft.) without supplemental oxygen. At higher altitudes, artificial systems are required to supply needed oxygen and, eventually, sufficient ambient pressure. The most effective means of preventing physiological problems in aircraft and spacecraft is to provide cabin pressurization so that occupants are never exposed to pressures outside the physiological zone. Unfortunately, failure of structures, hardware, or procedures may lead to unwanted and hazardous decompression events. This chapter will review cabin pressurization schemes, events that might lead to loss of pressure, and the major medical concerns of decompression.


Decompression-related disorders Aircraft decompression medical issues Spacecraft decompression health issues Cabin pressurization in spacecraft Hypobaric decompression Decompression sickness during space flight 



The authors are grateful for the patient, critical review of the manuscript and comments by the editorial team.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew A. Pilmanis
    • 1
  • Jonathan B. Clark
    • 2
  1. 1.US Air Force Research Laboratory (retired)Brooks City BaseSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, Space MedicineBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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