DCS – Decompression Sickness is caused by gas phase formed by a sufficiently rapid reduction of environmental pressure to cause super-saturation of gasses dissolved in tissues. The principle component is most usually nitrogen but when helium and oxygen mixtures are used it is helium. DCS is described by the terms Caisson Disease, “the bends” (joint pain), “the chokes” (pulmonary symptoms), “the staggers” (vestibular symptoms), and “hits” (spinal cord symptoms). DCS occurs in divers and also in those who work in compressed air as in caissons and tunnels.
Early recognition and prompt management of a patient with DCS is essential and early recompression treatment reduces the incidence of late complications. Recompression with a high partial pressure of oxygen is recommended for the initial treatment and US Navy table 5 and 6 are the most widely used in surface oriented diving. South Florida Center for HOPE can provide treatment for Decompression Sickness within our hyperbaric center.