The treatment and the neurological aspects of diving accidents in Israel

Yehuda Melamed, Abraham Ohry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this paper, the experience with diving accidents and their treatment, accumulated in the Israel Naval Hyperbaric Medical Institute (I.N.H.M.I.) during the past 4 years (1974-1978), has been summarised. Out of the 130 civil diving accidents during these years, were 35, in whom neurological complications occurred. Two divers were found dead upon surfacing. 33 divers were committed to hyperbaric treatment, 30 of whom recovered completely and only in 3, neurological sequelae remained. (From the analysis of the cases it is concluded that the outcome in these 3 cases is due to delay in the initiation of treatment.) In 18 cases initial decompression was carried out in a portable one-man chamber as a means of transfer under pressure (pressure stretcher) to a large hyperbaric chamber. There were I I cases with barotrauma (including the 2 immediate deaths) and 24 cases with type II decompression sickness. In the last group cerebral signs predominated. Spinal manifestations occurred in only 4 cases, 2 of which had cerebral symptoms as well. Altogether 18 patients had been treated in the pressurised one-man chamber as a means of transportation (I I with type II decompression, 7 with air emboli due to barotrauma). Six of these were treated with high-pressure oxygen tables while in the small chamber. It is concluded that immediate hyperbaric treatment is the main factor in ensuring complete recovery from severe diving accidents. The treatment efficiency of a portable one-man chamber is discussed, as well as the safety rules for its operation. The importance of preventive diving medicine is stressed. Divers should be well informed of the medical risks and the necessary steps to reduce them. General guidelines to avoid or to improve the treatment of diving accidents are put forward. This is important especially in view of the continuously increasing numbers of sport divers in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
JournalParaplegia
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1980

Keywords

  • Barotrauma
  • Cerebral injury
  • Decompression sickness
  • Diving
  • Spinal cord injury

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