DDRC Healthcare, Plymouth, Devon

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contact DDRC immediately on +44 (0)1752 209999(24 hrs)
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What is Decompression Illness? (DCI)

What is Decompression Illness? (DCI)

Decompression illness is caused by the reduction of pressure surrounding the body. There are two main mechanisms by which this occurs:

  1. Time spent diving underwater causes an excess of inert gas, such as nitrogen, to dissolve in the body. When a diver surfaces this gas may form bubbles. These bubbles then cause local damage to body tissues or obstruct small blood vessels. This can cause a wide range of symptoms including pain, weakness, dizziness or tingling.
  2. Cerebral Arterial Gas Embolism most commonly occurs when diving as a result of lung overexpansion injury, also known as pulmonary barotrauma.  Air passes directly from the lungs into arteries around the body and cause a variety of sudden onset symptoms which appear similar to a stroke, such as one sided weakness or loss of consciousness.

Decompression Illness can cause a wide variety of problems.

If you have symptoms after diving about which you are unsure:

Contact DDRC Healthcare urgently on 01752 209999 or at sea call the Coastguard on Channel 16.

Symptoms starting soon after diving can suggest more severe DCI so start first aid and do not delay seeking help.

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