Decompression Sickness in Divers Treated at the Israel Naval Medical Institute
A. Gil, A. Shupak, H. Lavon, Y. Adir
Israel Naval Medical Institute, Israel Defense Forces, Haifa
Clinical characteristics of 125 divers treated for decompression sickness (DCS) in the hyperbaric multiplace chambers of this Institute during 1992-1997 were analyzed retrospectively. In 62 (51%) the diagnosis was DCS Type I (joint pain or skin involvement) and in 60 (49%) DCS Type II (neurological, inner ear or pulmonary disease). Risk factors for the evolution of DCS were depth and duration of the dives involving accidents, violation of recommendations of the decompression tables, and repeated dives.
Results were available for 112 of the 125 patients. 54 of them (48%) recovered completely, and another 54 recovered partially; 4 did not respond to treatment. Inner ear DCS was less responsive to hyperbaric oxygen treatment (p=0.0001). There was significant improvement of neurological function in those with severe neurological injury (p=0.0001). Rapid diagnosis and transportation of divers with DCS to a hyperbaric chamber is of crucial importance.