Diving can lead to an air or gas embolism
If a diver surfaces too quickly, nitrogen bubbles can form in their tissues and bloodstream. This is often referred to as decompression sickness or “the bends”.
Surfacing quickly and holding your breath can cause air trapped in your lungs to expand. This may rupture lung tissue (pulmonary barotrauma), which can lead to gas bubbles being released into the arterial circulation (arterial gas embolism).
In some divers, underlying conditions can increase the chance of decompression sickness. These should be discussed with a doctor who specialises in diving medicine.
If the gas bubble blocks a small artery, it can cut off the blood supply to a particular area of the body.
The seriousness of the blockage depends on which part of the body is affected, the size of the gas bubble and the amount of inert gases (unreactive gases) within the diver’s tissues.