Decompression sickness quiz

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Sanshiro Kato

Medically Reviewed By:

Sanshiro Kato, MD

Emergency department

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Learn more about Decompression sickness

Content updated on Jun 1, 2022

What is decompression sickness?

Decompression sickness or generalized barotrauma refers to injuries caused by a rapid decrease in the surrounding pressure (either air or water). It commonly occurs in scuba or deep-sea divers, or during high-altitude or air travel.

Symptoms related to decompression sickness

  • Muscle pain

  • Joint pain even when resting

  • Joint pain

  • Pain across the entire body

  • Knee pain

  • Pain in the knuckles or finger joints

  • Thigh pain

  • Elbow pain

Questions your doctor may ask to check for decompression sickness

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose decompression sickness

  • Do you have any muscle pain?

  • Do you have joint pain even when you are at rest?

  • Do you have any joint pain?

  • Do you have pain all over the body?

  • Do you have pain in the knee(s)

Treatment for decompression sickness

Emergency treatment for decompression sickness involves maintaining blood pressure, administering oxygen and fluids. The person should be placed on their left side with the head of the bed tilted down.

View the symptoms of Decompression sickness

Diseases related to Decompression sickness


  • Sun Q, Gao G. Decompression Sickness. N Engl J Med. 2017 Oct 19;377(16):1568. doi: 10.1056/NEJMicm1615505. PMID: 29045210.

  • Mahon RT, Regis DP. Decompression and decompression sickness. Compr Physiol. 2014 Jul;4(3):1157-75. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c130039. PMID: 24944033.

Sanshiro Kato

Medically Reviewed By:

Sanshiro Kato, MD

Emergency department

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Shohei Harase, MD


Kameda Medical Center, Japan

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Sanshiro Kato, MD

Emergency department

Kawai Clinic, Japan

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