I was reading some text on deep sea Physiology, and for to know that diving to do could cause oxygen toxicity in the blood. This was the exact text from the book Textbook of Medical Physiology by Arthur Guyton and John E. Hall:

A column of seawater 33 feet (10.1 meters) deep exerts the same pressure at its bottom as the pressure of the atmosphere above the sea. Therefore, a person 33 feet beneath the ocean surface is exposed to 2 atmospheres pressure, with 1 atmosphere of pressure caused by the weight of the air above the water and the second atmosphere caused by the weight of the water.

When the PO2 in the blood rises above 100 mm Hg, the amount of O2 dissolved in the water of the blood increases markedly. Note that in the normal range of alveolar PO2 (below 120 mm Hg), almost none of the total O2 in the blood is accounted for by dissolved O2, but as the O2 pressure rises into the thousands of millimeters of mercury, a large portion of the total O2 is then dissolved in the water of the blood, in addition to that bound with hemoglobin.

I understand that high pressure causes more oxygen to dissolve in blood, but cannot figure out how excess dissolved oxygen in the blood disturbs the normal physiological balance of the body.

I'd be grateful if someone knowing the answer can help me.


1 Answer 1


This is from a Wikipedia article:

Central nervous system oxygen toxicity manifests as symptoms such as visual changes (especially tunnel vision), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), nausea, twitching (especially of the face), behavioural changes (irritability, anxiety, confusion), and dizziness. Oxygen toxicity - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_toxicity

It says there's hemolysis of red blood cells - i.e., they lyse = break open.


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