MyFlightMD

scuba-diving I have enjoyed scuba diving for many years. As a physician, I am fascinated with the physiology of barometric pressure and offloading gases within the body.  I did advanced hyperbaric training through Divers Alert Network and through New York Medical College where I am a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine. Decompression sickness is the medical condition arising from dissolved gases coming out of the bloodstream and producing bubbles within the body. This condition is also known as the Bends. These bubbles can migrate within the body and cause joint pain, paralysis and even death. The most common symptom is local joint pain. Pain in the arms is twice as frequent as pain in the legs. Almost all of the decompression sickness occurs within the first eight hours. There are various forms of decompression sickness including arterial gas embolism and barotrauma. Some of the most severe conditions arise when air bubbles form in the central nervous system, spinal cord, or brain.  There are so many manifestations of decompression sickness that almost any symptoms occurring after diving could be explained as a consequence. We typically think of decompression sickness is occurring in scuba divers. However, this also occurs to astronauts when they perform a spacewalk and the pressure in the spacesuit is lower than the pressure in the spacecraft.
Pilots and passengers may also experience a form of decompression sickness when in on pressurized aircraft ascends to high altitude.  However, the form with decompression sickness that relates to flying soon after scuba diving is in many ways most problematic. This is frequently occurring when vacationers try to fit in one more scuba dive before heading back home. Sometimes they forget that this is a major risk to their health. In fact there are specific recommendations from the diver alert network That you should not fly within 12 hours of completing the single dive were 18 hours of doing multiple dives and were possible to wait 24 hours. So let’s all be safe and do our dog it’s at least a day before we leave to fly back home. Of course this makes it difficult for commercial pilots on short layovers to go scuba diving, but that is part of the demands of the profession.