[abstract] DECOMPRESSION ILLNESS AMONG UNDERWATER LOGGERS IN MALAYSIA

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[abstract] DECOMPRESSION ILLNESS AMONG UNDERWATER LOGGERS IN MALAYSIA

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Title: [abstract] DECOMPRESSION ILLNESS AMONG UNDERWATER LOGGERS IN MALAYSIA
Author: Mohamed, H
Abstract: Introduction: The construction of hydroelectric dams in Malaysia resulted in large areas of submerged forest. Logging these submerged trees involve unique and provocative dive profiles. The resulting decompression illness (DCI) has a different presentation than those seen in recreational, military or other commercial divers. Methods: A review was done on 56 cases of DCI among underwater loggers treated at the Department of Diving Medicine (DHM), Armed Forces Hospital Lumut between January 1997 until December 2002. A workplace assessment was also done in January 2002 to assess equipment, techniques and DCI risk. Results The underwater loggers were males aged 15 to 57 years with 3.2 (mean) years diving experience. Dive profiles were provocative in 94.7percent of the cases. Neurological DCI was the most common (89.5percent) presentation. Their presenting symptoms were (in order of frequency) numbness, paralysis / paresis, limb pain, loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting, chest pain, urinary retention, shortness of breath, and convulsions. Delay to recompression varied between 5 to 48 hours. Although 59.5percent of the treated cases resulted in full recovery, 37.8percent had severe, permanent residual symptoms despite repeated treatment. Three cases required intensive care. Indirect complications included included cranial diabetes insipidus (3 cases) and lobar pneumonia (2 cases). Compared to DCI cases involving recreational divers treated at DHM, underwater loggers were more likely to have a severe presentation, higher number of recompression treatments and severe permanent residual disability. Workplace assessment reveals that the underwater loggers generally had no prior formal dive training, perform incorrect diving techniques using poor equipment. Discussion and Conclusion Frequency and severity of DCI in underwater loggers are high, compared to recreational or military diving. Provocative dive profiles, lack of training, inappropriate dive equipment, repetitive multi-day diving, diving at altitude, strenuous working dive and cold water temperatures probably contributed to their increased risk. Preponderance to neurological DCI may be explained by the multiple short, deep, ('bounce') dives commonly practiced by the loggers. Guidelines and regulations would help in defining commercial diving standards in Malaysia.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc. (http://www.uhms.org )
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/1579
Date: 2004

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  • UHMS Meeting Abstracts
    This is a collection of the published abstracts from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) annual meetings.

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