Long Term Effect of the Bends (Decompression Illness) From Scuba Diving

by Berenice
(Waitaker, New Zealand)

Having suffered from the bends, I would like to know if there are any long term side effects, ie mental effects, spasms?

Hi Berenice,

Sorry to hear you suffered from the bends (for those who are unfamiliar with the bends, you can check out our page on the bends and decompression illness.

I will preface this by saying that I am not a doctor and can not give any medical advice. I would definitely contact a medical professional for a complete diagnosis of your condition since you seem to be concerned about your health.

In answer to your question though, yes, there can be some long term side effects of having the bends. However, it is all individual and what the long term effects are, if any, are particular to each case/person.

For instance, according to Wikipedia "Immediate first aid treatment of 100% oxygen on demand, followed by recompression at a hyperbaric chamber, will in most cases result in no long term effects. However, permanent long term injury from DCS is possible. Three month follow-up from diving accidents reported to DAN in 1987 showed 14.3% of the 268 divers surveyed "still had residual signs and symptoms from Type II DCS and 7% from Type I DCS". Long term follow-up by Desola showed similar results with 16% permanent neurological sequalae." You can check their sources cited for more detail on these studies.

There is also some good information on the bends and decompression illness available at diversalertnetwork.org and scuba-doc.com which are two websites which I trust.

Nevertheless, in your case, I would definitely discuss your concerns with a qualified medical professional.

Dianne

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