Bubbles on the Brain

By Divers Alert Network

Cases of decompression sickness( DCS) with neurological symptoms are thankfully rare, but when they do occur they must be responded to rapidly and effectively. Do not let worrying about the aworst-case scenarioa construct your diving less enjoyable, but do take measures to learn how to identify and respond to a diver with neurological symptoms. Knowing how to respond correctly can make all the difference for an injured diver. While magazine articles are no replacement for train, theyare a great starting point to build on abilities you already have or become aware of new abilities youad like to acquire. Read on, attempt develop, and learn what you can do in an emergency.

Know what to look for

Much like effective stroke response, effective treatment of a diver with neurological DCS depends on rapid recognition and response. Current American Heart Association guidelines promote a 60 -minute, door-to-door policy for strokes: ideally no more than one hour should pass from the time symptoms are recognized to the time the stroke victim arrives at a capable healthcare facility. This is not something thatas always possible, especially if youare miles/ kilometres offshore, but it devotes us a good reference point for care of injured divers, especially considering the significant similarities that exist between certain types of strokes and serious cases of neurological DCS.

In any case involving a suspected dive injury, you should respond as if it were the worst-case scenario a a speedy emergency response can only help an injured diveras condition. If a symptom could potentially be linked to neurological DCS and lacks an obvious exclusionary justification, assume the symptoms are a result of DCS and proceed accordingly. At hours it can be very difficult to discern whether a diver is experiencing DCS or an unrelated medical condition, but being very well known typical symptoms can give you enough direction to respond effectively. Hereas a list of classic DCS symptoms to look out for:

Confusion Numbness Paresthesia( a apins and needlesa sensation) Muscle weakness Difficulty walking Problems with physical coordination or bladder control Dizziness or vertigo Nausea or vomiting A dry coughing or difficulty breathing Assess, Identify, Respond Once you have recognized that there is a problem, the next step is to identify the type and severity of symptoms. When responding, your priorities are to quickly determine whether an injury has resulted, activate your emergency-response plan and local emergency services, speedily assess the severity of the injury( and the level of importance necessitated ), and( if appropriate) begin conducting a neurological exam while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

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