Definition of decompression sickness
: a sometimes fatal disorder that is marked by neuralgic pains and paralysis, distress in breathing, and often collapse and that is caused by the release of gas bubbles (as of nitrogen) in tissue upon too rapid decrease in air pressure after a stay in a compressed atmosphere —called also bends, caisson disease — compare aeroembolism
First Known Use of decompression sickness
Medical Definition of decompression sickness
: a sometimes fatal condition that is caused by the release of gas bubbles typically of nitrogen as it leaves its dissolved form throughout the body upon a rapid decrease in barometric pressure (such as that experienced by the rapid ascent of a diver from a deep dive or the rapid ascent of a pilot to high altitudes in a poorly pressurized aircraft) ◆Decompression sickness is marked chiefly by joint pain and is often accompanied in mild forms by fatigue and itching or burning of the skin frequently with discoloration. More serious forms may manifest with shortness of breath, chest pain, numbness, muscle weakness or paralysis, visual disturbances, incontinence, confusion, and hypovolemic shock. Individuals affected with decompression sickness are typically treated in a hyperbaric chamber. —called also bends, caisson disease; see aeroembolism, choke 2
Variants of decompression sickness
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