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Origin of decompression sickness

First recorded in 1940–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for decompression sickness

decompression sickness

decompresssion illness


noun

a disorder characterized by severe pain in muscles and joints, cramp, and difficulty in breathing, caused by a sudden and sustained decrease in air pressure, resulting in the deposition of nitrogen bubbles in the tissuesAlso called: caisson disease, aeroembolism Nontechnical name: the bends
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for decompression sickness

decompression sickness

n.

A disorder, seen especially in deep-sea divers or in caisson and tunnel workers, caused by the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the blood following a rapid drop in pressure and characterized by severe pains in the joints and chest, skin irritation, cramps, and paralysis.aeroemphysema bends caisson disease
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for decompression sickness

decompression sickness

A common disorder that affects deep-sea divers following a sudden drop in the surrounding pressure, as when ascending rapidly from a dive. When divers are underwater, the amounts of gases such as O2, CO2, and N2 in their blood increase due to the increased pressure. As they ascend to the surface and the pressure decreases, the gases in their blood expand. The extra oxygen is absorbed by the body; the extra CO2 is excreted efficiently; but nitrogen, which the body does not use, forms bubbles in the blood and tissues. These bubbles cause severe pains in the joints and chest, skin irritation, cramps, and possibly paralysis. Decompression sickness can be avoided by ascending slowly to the surface, or by spending time in a decompression chamber.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.