What is the highest pressure that a human body can withstand?

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Offline Kryptid

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The human body seems to be capable of withstanding external pressures quite a bit above the normal 1 atmosphere that we experience in everyday life. The most I've seen is 9 atmospheres as stated in the following Wikipedia article:


The biggest barrier seems to be the difference in pressure between internal air cavities (eardrums, lungs, sinuses, etc.) and the external pressure. The pressure in at least some of these cavities can be brought into equalization with high external pressures (breathing high-pressure gas for the lungs, swallowing for the eardrums, etc.). What is the limit to this? How much pressure can the human body aclimate itself to? Have there ever been experiments to determine this? What is the highest pressure that a human has ever been exposed to without ill-effect?

On a similar note, does high pressure have any undesired long-term effects if one were to live in such conditions, for say, years? If one were to live a year in 2 atmospheres of pressure, would their health suffer relative to a person living under normal pressure?
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Offline Soul Surfer

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What is the highest pressure that a human body can withstand?
« Reply #1 on: 29/12/2008 18:34:39 »
Saturation divers who work on deep oil rigs are the people who are regularly subjected to the highest pressures.  10 atmospheres asuumes depths down to around 300 feet  but divers do go deeper than that.

The Wikipedia reference on "deep diving" suggests that the record is around 1000feet or 330 metres this implies pressure upto about 33 atmospheres.

The limits are I believe set by the ability to breathe the helium oxygen moxture to work at high pressures because it eventually becomes to "thick" to breathe.

The well known problem with saturation divers is aseptic bone necrosis  ie your bones die presumably because blood circulation in the fine capilliaries fails.

« Last Edit: 29/12/2008 18:37:27 by Soul Surfer »
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