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CptBeaky  
#1 Posted : 11 September 2019 11:49:30(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

We deal with compressed air at my place of work. When I do my toolbox talk regarding the safe use of compressed air I always bring up the risk of an embolism should compressed air get into your bloodstream. I was just wondering, is this a complete hypothetical? I have never come across an instance of this happening, in the news or elsewhere.

I can find organ ruptures due to idiots blasting it into various orafices, particles entering peoples' eyes etc. But no examples of embolism. So, is this an urban myth? Is it possible? Do we have a recorded case of it happening?

(For the record no matter the answer I will still include it in my talks)

jmaclaughlin  
#2 Posted : 11 September 2019 15:30:41(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
jmaclaughlin

stevedm  
#3 Posted : 11 September 2019 17:26:08(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
stevedm

This was one that one of my medics attended back in 2010...similar to what you describe...I have other notes but they are more practice guidance for first responder/ dive medic... 

https://www.imca-int.com/alert/525/diver-injury-during-air-cylinder-recharging/

Roundtuit  
#4 Posted : 11 September 2019 19:31:32(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Whilst there seem to be many descriptions of potential death from air embolism in the blood stream the majority of accidental injuries from compressed air appear to be from people being struck by projectiles e.g. cylinder valves, trigger whip, exploding tyres.

Then there are the reports of deliberately inserting airlines in to the rectal passage of others from Japan and India

Steve e ashton  
#5 Posted : 11 September 2019 20:23:19(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Steve e ashton

From my personal archive: an industrial painter. Accustomed to using 'low pressure' spray equipment. Took delivery of new (to him) equipment. Connected up as per instructions supplied. Then, as per his normal practice, aimed the spray nozzle at his own palm to test the spread and drift of spray. The new equipment was high pressure. The paint spray force was such as to blast apart the palm of his butyl glove, his skin/muscles/tendons and bones. By which time the force was sufficiently moderated it did not penetrate the glove on the back of his hand. First aiders delivered the casualty to emergency on site facilities with all parts still contained in the glove remnants. No surgical repair was deemed possible and (from memory) the guy retained use of only one joint of his pinky and his thumb. So far as could be ascertained there was no solvent or air contamination of his blood (at least none that had any significant effect on his health). So no embolism from a fairly extreme injection incident (not saying it couldn't happen under other circumstances, just it never happened here) He returned to work after around ten weeks absence. And for those interested yes, it was reported to the authorities (under nador rather than riddor).
AcornsConsult  
#6 Posted : 12 September 2019 10:10:03(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
AcornsConsult

Rather following on from the above scenario, it was my understanding that the main injury likely to arise from compressed air was direct injury to the body's outer layers and inner organs rather than the air being absorbed. 

stevedm  
#7 Posted : 12 September 2019 14:33:17(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
stevedm

A venous air embolism occurs when air enters the venous system and eventually causes an obstruction in the pulmonary circulation. The gradient between external atmospheric pressure and the intravascular low central venous pressure (CVP) is especially increased by hypovolemia or during inspiration by creating a negative intrathoracic pressure which enhances the possibility of air entry...like any injection you can have transmission into the venous system...all depends on the pressure applied....the research sugegsts that about 200cc of air injected into the venous systemis enough to cause circulatory arrest....

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