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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2001 October;67(10):737-43

language: English

Altitude decompression sickness. Case presentation

Sallusti R., Ferraù S. *, Lozano Valdes A. *, Gonzales C. *, Jónsson M. **, Gullo A.

From the Department of Clinical Sciences Section of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Clinic Trieste University School of Medicine, Trieste, Italy
*Service of Hyperbaric Medicine and
**Department of Internal Medicine University of Reykjavik City Hospital Reykjavik, Iceland


The in-flight altitude-related decompression sickness (DCS) is not as common as DCS occurring after working or recreational diving, or, at least, it is not commonly described in the medical literature. Though modern aircraft are safer and more reliable, occupants are still subject to the stress of high altitude flight, and altitude DCS still represents a risk to the occupants, mostly if they are exposed to altitudes of 25,000 ft or higher. The authors report their experience about two different accidents involving a US Air Force pilot and a navigator, treated at the Service of Hyperbaric Medicine at Landspitallin Fossvogur, the University of Reykjavik City Hospital, Iceland, because of occurrence of type II altitude-related DCS. A US Navy Oxygen Treatment Table 6 was successfully applied in both cases. Also considered are some aspects related to physiopathology, clinical presentation and therapy of DCS, with particular regard to the occurrence of DCS during flight.

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