Recompression treatment of Red Sea diving accidents: a 23-year summary.

Rachel Dankner*, Nahum Gall, Gabriel Freidman, Jacob Arad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The growing popularity of diving sport has resulted in more diving accidents. Our objective was to characterize Red Sea divers requiring recompression treatment in Eilat, to recognize 23-year trends of diving accidents, and to facilitate appropriate administrative and treatment tools for diving accident in this area. DESIGN: Retrospective, uncontrolled study. SETTING: Recompression unit at a Red Sea medical center. PATIENTS: Charts of all divers treated at Eilat's recompression chamber from October 1976 to December 1999 were reviewed. INTERVENTIONS: Recompression treatment. RESULTS: During this period, annual crude numbers increased 5-fold, and a total of 453 patients were treated. Of them, 68% were Israelis and 32% tourists; 76% were males and 23% females; and 21.6% were diving buddies of injured divers (omitted decompression). The mean diving depth causing the accident was 30.2 +/- 13.1 m, and >50% of accidents occurred between 11 and 30 m. Over 42% suffered from decompression sickness (DCS) type 2, 26% from DCS type 1, and 7% from barotraumas. Women, unlike men, presented predominantly DCS type 2 (54% vs. 39%; P = 0.01) and sustained DCS at shallower waters (25.2 +/- 9.1 m) than men (31.8 +/- 13.8 m; P < 0.0001). Primarily, treatment followed recompression in alternating cycles of oxygen and air as stipulated in US Navy Tables 5 (18.1%) and 6 (37.5%). The 48-hour case fatality rate was 0.09%. CONCLUSIONS: This large survey of open sea diving accidents accentuated the need for a national registry of diving accidents and a national database of diving activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-256
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


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