Tuesday, August 11, 2009

HBOT In Space

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has made it into space, at least in a fictional sense. In the second episode of the new ABC space thriller, Defying Gravity, the crew of the Antaries tests a special space suit by pumping the the internal pressure up to a whopping five atmospheres to check for leaks. They do this with an astronaut inside the suit, so the inevitable leak leads to a life-threatening drop in pressure.

Decompression sickness ensues. The quick-thinking crew (there's no other kind on TV) calls for "the hyperbaric chamber." Something like a large Ziploc bag is produced. Fifty years from now chambers will apparently be very portable.

You'll have to watch to learn how it all works out. Remarkable in that the science is roughly accurate and that the scriptwriters felt they could include the hyperbaric chamber without getting the audience totally lost.

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