Suspension: Likelihood of an embolism or Aneurysm

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Saturday May 26th, 2012 @ 10:20 AM

Filed under: Suspension

Greetings and salutations BME. As the ages escalate ever increasingly I begin asking more questions concerning myself and the world. My question to the Fascinating BME is this…

How likely is one to receive an aneurysm or an embolism from performing an act of suspension? I have telescoped the Internet in finding the answer to this question; however I am unable to become satisfied with what I have thus far found.

Being unable to find information I had asked some Med students for any information they could offer. The one Med student I had asked explained to me that there is no true way of knowing, in theory however anything can happen. He went into explanation of a ‘worst case scenario’. In effect this is what he had to say…

With out sufficient hydration, tissue under the skin would dry out; upon drying out lesions may occur and as a result the likelihood of an aneurysm with it. With enough electrolytes and H2o any air under the skin and between the muscle should be reintroduced into the body’s system one molecule at a time, the greater the hydration the better and safer.

I must be perfectly honest, I am scared of possibly something going wrong. Is this a worth fearing? Is it possible that there is simply not enough information available to a possible aneurysm? or embolism? Regardless of the research available; I would like to have BME’s opinion on this, it seems very undissected- and thus I feel I must ask. Statistically speaking, there seems to be no research done on fatalities or suspension incidents. Has anyone died from an act of human body suspension? Direct or indirect? I do not see enough evidence.

Many Regards to BME and the community.


Let me start by saying that I am NOT a medical professional. I don’t even play one on BME. With that out of the way I can relate to you what I do know and hopefully steer you straight. 

An aneurysm and an embolism are two very different things. An aneurysm is when there is a weakness in the wall of a blood vessel, causing it to abnormally balloon. Noone knows what causes aneurysms but we do know some factors that play roles. Things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, etc. (suspension so far doesn’t play a known factor, :) , or to be more technical skin lacerations and trauma aren’t a known factor).

An embolism however is when an air  bubble or blood clot or other object travels thru the blood stream and becomes stuck in a passage. I’m assuming your real worry is air being introduced into a blood vessel. Suspension doesn’t work like that. When skin separates from fatty tissue a pocket is created that air will be drawn into, however it is not injected as a foreign body in your blood stream, which would be necessary for an embolism. The air that is introduced (subcutaneous emphysema) is harmless and easily reabsorbed into the body thru tissue. Subcutaneous Emphysema and Embolisms are NOT the same thing.

So to answer the question of how likely an aneurism or embolism is to happen due to suspension, the answer is simple based on current knowledge, not at all. Your fears are completely unfounded and as far as recorded history tells us it has never happened so far. Although yes, anything can happen. You could be struck by lightning whir suspending, but that doesn’t mean lightning strikes are a danger of suspension.

Now, as to your next question concerning death. No, as far as I or anyone knows, noone has ever died during a suspension. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, shock can be a life threatening condition and with the rigging I’ve seen out there in some substandard teams there is a possibility of a fall from height that could induce death. 
But no, it hasn’t happened yet to the thousands of thousands of people who suspend and it hopefully will never happen. 

To keep this trend going, support good suspension teams and demand that ones who don’t perform up to standard raise their level of operations. If that happens then not only would it never have happened before but we can make it so that it will never happen in the future.

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