|Deadly Deep Sea Diving -
Pathology of Decompression Sickness ('Caisson disease')
"As every scuba diver knows, panic is your
worst enemy: when it hits, your mind starts
to thrash and you are likely to do something really stupid and self-
Diving with self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) has become a popular recreational sports activity throughout the world.
Although scuba diving is not a competitive sport requiring athletic health conditions, a certain medical fitness is recommended because of the physical peculiarities of the underwater environment.
Decompression sickness is a special form of air embolism caused by sudden change in atmospheric pressure seen in deep-sea divers.
'Caisson disease' is a chronic form of decompression disease due to persistent gas bubbles in the normally poorly vascularized portion of the skeleton (head of the femur, tibia and humerus) causing multiple foci of ischemic necrosis.
Air breathed at high pressure (during a deep-sea dive) causes increasing amount of gas (particularly nitrogen) to be dissolved in blood and tissues.
Subsequent rapid depressurization allows the dissolved gases to expand and bubble out of solution to form gas emboli.
Nitrogen embolization occurs in decompression sickness ( 'caisson disease') .
This condition is often seen in the persons whose occupation causes them to work at very high pressures and who may then return too quickly to normal atmospheric pressure
(Example: Commercial or professional deep sea divers and tunnellers ).
The symptoms may be relieved by placing the patient in a compression chamber and forcing the gases back into solution.
Once this has been done, slow and careful decompression should avoid a recurrence.
A prerequisite for those who enjoy scuba diving is mental and physical fitness. The person should be examined for fitness before first taking up the sport, and should be rechecked every one to three years.
For the deep sea diver not only lung function and electrocardiogram (ECG) should be normal, the psychological profile of the diver also plays an important role under water.
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