Emerg Med J doi:10.1136/emermed-2011-200538
  • Short report

Neurological oxygen toxicity

  1. Oliver Sykes2
  1. 1Department of Anaesthetics, St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  2. 2London Hyperbaric Medicine, Whipps Cross University Hospital, Leytonstone, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Scott Farmery, Department of Anaesthetics, St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust, Blackshaw Road, London SW17 0QT, UK; scott.farmery{at}
  1. Contributors SF conceived the article, wrote the case report and edited the final manuscript. OS wrote up the discussion and provided the references.

  • Accepted 24 July 2011
  • Published Online First 6 September 2011


SCUBA diving has several risks associated with it from breathing air under pressure—nitrogen narcosis, barotrauma and decompression sickness (the bends). Trimix SCUBA diving involves regulating mixtures of nitrogen, oxygen and helium in an attempt to overcome the risks of narcosis and decompression sickness during deep dives, but introduces other potential hazards such as hypoxia and oxygen toxicity convulsions. This study reports on a seizure during the ascent phase, its potential causes and management and discusses the hazards posed to the diver and his rescuer by an emergency ascent to the surface.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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