Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Ivette Motola, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
James Kimo Takayesu, MD
Decompression Illness Overview
Decompression illness can develop during scuba diving and occurs in the following conditions:
Two types of decompression sickness exist: Type I involves the muscles, skin, and lymphatics. Type II involves the brain, ears, and lungs (typically more serious).
Record all details of recent dive profiles. To help prevent decompression illness, do not fly on an airplane for at least 12 hours after 2 hours of total dive time during the previous 2 days.
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Although decompression sickness (DCS), a complex resulting from changed barometric pressure, includes high-altitude–related and aerospace-related events, this article focuses on decompression associated with the sudden decrease in pressures during underwater ascent, usually occurring during free or assisted dives.