CHAPTER 21 Recompression Therapy
C H A P T E R 2 1
Purpose. This chapter covers recompression therapy. Recompression therapy is
indicated for treating omitted decompression, decompression sickness, and arterial
Scope. The procedures outlined in this chapter are to be performed only by
personnel properly trained to use them. Because these procedures cover symptoms
ranging from pain to life-threatening disorders, the degree of medical expertise
necessary to carry out treatment properly will vary. Certain procedures, such as
starting IV fluid lines and inserting chest tubes, require special training and should
not be attempted by untrained individuals. Treatment tables can be executed
without consulting a Diving Medical Officer (DMO), although a DMO should
always be contacted at the earliest possible opportunity. Four treatment tables
require special consideration:
Treatment Table 4 is a long, arduous table that requires constant evaluation of
the stricken diver.
Treatment Table 7 and Treatment Table 8 allow prolonged treatments for
severely ill patients based on the patients condition throughout the treatment.
Treatment Table 9 can only be prescribed by a Diving Medical Officer.
Diving Supervisors Responsibilities. Experience has shown that symptoms of
severe decompression sickness or arterial gas embolism may occur following
seemingly normal dives. This fact, combined with the many operational scenarios
under which diving is conducted, means that treatment of severely ill individuals
will be required occasionally when qualified medical help is not immediately on
scene. Therefore, it is the Diving Supervisors responsibility to ensure that every
member of the diving team:
Is thoroughly familiar with all recompression procedures.
Knows the location of the nearest, certified recompression facility.
Knows how to contact a qualified Diving Medical Officer if one is not at the
Emergency Consultation. Modern communications allow access to medical
expertise from even the most remote areas. Emergency consultation is available 24
hours a day with: