J Korean Soc Emerg Med.  2016 Feb;27(1):118-125. 10.0000/jksem.2016.27.1.118.

A Study on Heuristic Transportation Routes of Patients with Acute Dysbarism for the Best Prognosis

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea. avenue59@ajou.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Ilsan Inje Paik Hospital, Gyeonggi-do, Korea.
  • 3Underwater Medical Institute of Marine Medical Center, Changwon, Korea.


Acute dysbarism is a potentially lethal injury associated with environmental medicine. Therefore, prompt treatment, including transportation of victims, is important for the best prognosis. The aim of this study was to examine transportation routes of patients with acute dysbarism for the best prognosis in Korea.
Geography of South Korea was analyzed using the geographic information system (GIS). The study examined two scenarios using transportation analysis, which relies on a GIS base and pressure variation during air and ground transportation. Given the practical assumptions, we propose some heuristic transportation routes based on the simulation of altitude, transportation time, and availability of related factors.
Currently, transportation by ground to the treatment facilities always passes high altitude areas above 152 feet. Also, available helicopters for air transportation could not approach the treatment facilities due to the limitation of flying distance and insufficiency of medical staff and treatment equipment. Altitude variation and delayed time were identified during the period of transportation by ground from Ganneung or Incheon to Tongyoung. Heuristic algorism through the above facts recommends air transport along coasts as the best method for transportation from Ganneung or Incheon to Tongyoung.
In Korea, transportation by ground was not expected to result in the best prognosis for patients with acute dysbarism. Transportation by air should be considered first as the method of transportation. Also, for the best treatment of patients with acute dysbarism, additional treatment facilities need to be established in the west coast region.


Decompression sickness; Transportation of patients; Prognosis; Medical geography
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