This study was designed to determine the recompression strategy and the potential risk factors associated with the development of severe diving-related spinal cord decompression sickness (DCS). MATERIAL AND
Sixty-three injured recreational divers (52 men and 11 women; 46 +/- 12 years) presenting with symptoms of spinal involvement were retrospectively included.
Diving information, symptom latency after dive completion, and time interval between symptom onset and hyperbaric treatment were studied.
The severity of spinal cord DCS was rated numerically for both the acute event and 1-month later.
Initial recompression treatment at 2.8 atmosphere absolute (ATA) with 100% oxygen breathing or deeper recompression at 4 atmosphere absolute with nitrogen-oxygen or helium-oxygen breathing mixture was also noted.
Twenty-one divers (33%) had incomplete resolution after 1 month.
The clinical severity at presentation was the only independent predictor of poor outcome (odd ratio, 2.68; P < .033). Time to treatment did not influence the recovery with a similar median delay (3 hours) between the divers with or without long-term sequelae.
Choice of recompression procedure was not also a determinant factor for treatment outcome.
The initial clinical course before treatment is a major prognostic factor of spinal cord DCS. Delay to recompression less than 3 hours and use of deep treatment tables did not improve outcome in DCS divers.
Department of Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine, BP 20545, Ste Anne's Military Hospital, 83041 Toulon Cedex 9, France. gempp [at] voila.fr
J Crit Care. 2010 Jun;25(2):236-42
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