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Barotrauma/Decompression Sickness (cont.)


Most people recover from their diving accidents and are able to participate in future dives.

  • Air embolism can be the most devastating complication from a diving accident. The initial problems that occur can be very dramatic. Appropriate measures, including recompression, must be taken quickly to minimize disabilities. Recovery rates for people reaching a recompression chamber have been 66%-90%.
  • Decompression sickness can also generally be treated effectively and result in very good recovery rates when recompression is performed, even several days after the initial onset.
  • Pulmonary barotrauma associated with a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) may require several days in the hospital if a chest tube is placed. There is always a risk of recurrence once a diver has a collapsed lung. Complete recovery will usually take several weeks to months.
  • Mild ear squeezes usually take about 1-2 weeks to recover. More significant ones, typically associated with eardrum rupture, may take longer. Depending on the severity and amount of damage, surgery may be recommended.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Barotrauma »

Diving as a profession can be traced back more than 5000 years, yet diving-related disease was not described until Paul Bert wrote about caisson disease in 1878.

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