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Scuba Diving: Carbon Dioxide Poisoning

What is Carbon Dioxide Poisoning?

  • Inadequate ventilation when scuba diving results in carbon dioxide build-up.
  • Inadequate breathing, a tight wetsuit, overexertion, regulator malfunction, deep diving, and contamination of the air supply with exhaled gases often cause a carbon dioxide buildup.
  • Carbon dioxide levels in the blood can increase, causing shortness of breath and sedation, resulting in carbon dioxide toxicity.

Carbon Dioxide Poisoning Symptoms

Patient Comments

Carbon Dioxide Poisoning Treatment

Patient Comments

Treat people with carbon dioxide toxicity as follows:

  • Administer fresh air or oxygen.
  • Allow the person to rest.
  • Call 911 if the person develops severe symptoms or is unresponsive.

When to Seek Medical Care for Carbon Dioxide Poisoning

Medical assistance is generally not required for people with carbon dioxide toxicity, except in severe cases as defined above.

For More Information on CO2 Poisoning

Oracle ThinkQuest, Diving: Gases and Moisture

Diving Medicine Online, CO2 Retention

Medically reviewed by a Board Certified Family Practice Physician


"Mechanisms, causes, and effects of hypercapnia"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2017

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Scuba Diving: Carbon Dioxide Poisoning:

Carbon Dioxide Toxicity - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience from carbon dioxide toxicity?

Carbon Dioxide Toxicity - Treatment

What treatment did you receive for your carbon dioxide toxicity?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Barotrauma »

Diving as a profession can be traced back more than 5000 years, yet diving-related disease was not described until Paul Bert wrote about caisson disease in 1878.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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