The Abyss (featured image)

Hypercapnic hypoxia in the movie The Abyss

The Abyss (1989)

quotes_signThe Abyss is a 1989 American science fiction film written and directed by James Cameron, starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn. When an American submarine mysteriously sinks in the Caribbean, the US search and recovery team works with an oil platform crew, racing against Russian vessels to recover the boat. Deep in the ocean, on an odyssey 25,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, they encounter an alien aquatic species.

Cold water drowning

In one scene the mini-sub is damaged and is taking on water. With only one functional diving suit, Lindsay opts to enter deep hibernation when the ocean’s cold water engulfs her, and Virgil ‘Bud’ Brigman swims back with her body to the platform. There, he and the crew administer CPR and revive her.

What Lindsey is describing is essentially prof. Giaja’s method of respiratory hypothermia – lowering body temperature is coupled with gradual oxygen deprivation and accumulation of CO2. Oxidative processes which are a source of heat production become suppressed, and the body temperature slowly drops which put Lindsey in a deep hypothermic lethargy similar to hibernation and made her also resistant to asphyxia.

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