DDRC Healthcare, Plymouth, Devon

Emergencies & Hyperbaric Referrals
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What happens when I'm treated for DCI

Do I have to pay for treatment?

Who is running the treatment?

How is a decision about recompression therapy made?

How long is recompression therapy?

What happens during the treatment?

What happens after the treatment? 

Where will I stay?

Can I dive again?

Will I be followed-up after discharge?

Resuming normal activity after DCI

 

 

Do I have to pay for treatment?

For UK and EU citizens, the NHS pay for recompression for DCI. For divers from elsewhere, diving insurance will be required to pay for treatment.

Who is running the treatment?

Our on call team consists of a Diving Physician, Chamber Supervisor, Chamber Operator and Hyperbaric Nurse or Chamber Attendant who is a trained Diver Medic Technician. The full team are present during each and every treatment to provide immediate assistance should it be required. All equipment in the chamber has been checked to ensure it is safe to use under pressure.

How is a decision about recompression therapy made?

The Diving Physician will decide, based on information from the diver, their buddies, the emergency services, and from findings on examination, whether a diver needs recompression, and if so, which treatment table should be used. We can download most dive computers and these can provide helpful information about what happened, so it is helpful if a diver brings it with them.

If a diver has missed a lot of decompression but has no symptoms, the Diving Physician may recommend a short recompression therapy to reduce their risk of developing DCI. 

How long is recompression therapy?

Emergency recompression for DCI may last between 4:45 hours to 7:30 hours depending on the severity of the DCI and response to treatment. Most divers make full recovery after one or two treatments, but divers with more severe injury may need significantly more.

What happens during the treatment?

Initial emergency treatments will always be in one of our multiplace chambers. Cotton scrubs are provided to wear in the chamber, for comfort and safety. A Chamber Attendant or Hyperbaric Nurse will be in the chamber throughout treatment. Checks will be made on a diver’s progress during treatment to assess progress.

During compression, the chamber becomes warm and noisy for a short time and cooler during decompression. Oxygen or heliox is administered through a hood or a mask and removed at set intervals for ‘air breaks’. A diver needs to equalise their ears, just as if they were in the water.

Video and audio communication is possible between inside and outside the chamber.  A video recording is made of each treatment to fulfil HSE legislation.

It is possible to drink and eat at certain points during the treatment and toilet facilities are available in the chamber. If a diver is dehydrated, a drip providing intravenous fluid will be set up. Occasionally other medical intervention is needed such as bladder catheterisation.

What happens after the treatment? 

A diver who has been recompressed will be asked to stay within proximity of the chamber in case of relapse of DCI and reassessed by the Diving Physician the next day. After the first treatment, and assuming the diver has not needed admission to hospital, it is sensible a friend/relative stays with the diver.

Family and friends are welcome at the centre but we are not able to provide overnight accommodation for anyone other than those sharing a room with the diver being treated. WiFi, TV, tea and coffee making facilities are available for waiting friends/relatives.

Where will I stay?

A diver being treated will be accommodated nearby at no charge. Occasionally for medical reasons, a diver may need to be admitted to Derriford Hospital which is adjacent to the centre.

Can I dive again?

Most divers do return to diving. A minimum of one month off diving after DCI is usually recommended but advice about this will be given on an individual basis.

Will I be followed-up after discharge?

DDRC Healthcare offers follow-up to all divers treated for DCI. The Diving Physician will recommend a certain time off diving and a ‘Bend Review’ and a medical will be offered after that time, at no cost to the diver. A follow-up medical is sensible to ensure fitness to return to diving, and is needed for dive holiday insurance.

For recreational divers – a recreational medical will be offered, for divers with an existing in date HSE diving medical, an HSE medical will be offered.

Resuming normal activity after DCI

Individual advice will be given to each diver with respect to driving, returning to work and other activity. A diver who has made a full recovery after DCI should not fly for a minimum of three days after recompression. Divers who have not made full recovery will be advised on an individual basis.

If you have any more questions, please get in touch info@ddrc.org, arrange a chamber dive or come on one of our Diving Accident Responder Courses.

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