Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)

Cardiovascular parameters in a mixed-sex swine study of severe decompression sickness treated with the emulsified perfluorocarbon Oxycyte.

PMID 25342702


Intravenous perfluorocarbons (PFC) have reduced the effects of decompression sickness (DCS) and improved mortality rates in animal models. However, concerns for the physiological effects of DCS combined with PFC therapy have not been examined in a balanced mixed-sex population. Thirty-two (16 male, 16 female) instrumented and sedated juvenile Yorkshire swine were exposed to 200 feet of seawater (fsw) for 31 min of hyperbaric air. Pulmonary artery pressure (PAP), cardiac output (CO), and systemic arterial pressure (SAP) were monitored before (control) and after exposure. Animals were randomized to treatment with Oxycyte (5 ml/kg; Oxygen Biotherapeutics, Inc., Morrisville, NC) vs. saline (control) with 100% oxygen administered upon DCS onset; animals were observed for 90 min. Parameters recorded and analyzed included PAP, CO, and SAP. In all animals PAP began to rise prior to cutis marmorata (CM) onset, the first sign of clinical DCS, generally peaking after CM onset. Female swine, compared with castrated males, had a more rapid onset of CM (7.30 vs. 11.46 min postsurfacing) and earlier onset to maximal PAP (6.41 vs. 9.69 min post-CM onset). Oxycyte therapy was associated with a sustained PAP elevation above controls in both sexes (33.41 vs. 25.78 mmHg). Significant pattern differences in PAP, CO, and SAP were noted between sexes and between therapeutic groups. There were no statistically significant differences in survival or paralysis between the PFC and control groups during the 48-h observation period. In conclusion, Oxycyte therapy for DCS is associated with a prolonged PAP increase in swine. These species and sex differences warrant further exploration.