Scuba Injuries Overview
What are scuba injuries?
A person with a scuba injury has damage to the body caused by changes in pressure that occur during underwater diving. Pressure on the body increases as a diver descends deeper into the water. The body may be unable to equalize the pressure between the water and the pressure inside a cavity, such as the middle ear, sinuses or lungs. Large differences in pressure can result in scuba injuries. About 3 out of 10,000 dives results in severe scuba injuries.
What are the symptoms of scuba injuries?
Symptoms of mild scuba injuries may include ear pain, eye pain, facial pain, sinus pain, dental pain, or excessive gas. Symptoms of a severe scuba injury may include chest pain, difficulty breathing, joint pains, severe muscle aches, neck swelling, facial swelling, or chest swelling. Additional symptoms of severe scuba injuries may include sudden arm numbness, arm weakness, leg numbness, leg weakness, facial weakness, difficulty swallowing, difficulty speaking, difficulty walking, a change in vision, or loss of coordination.
How does the doctor treat scuba injuries?
Treatment for scuba injuries depends on the type of injury. Treatment for scuba injuries may include marine wound care, decongestant medications, narcotic pain medications, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Additional treatment for severe scuba injuries may include oxygen therapy and emergency hyperbaric therapy.
Continue to Scuba Injuries Incidence
- Arness MK. Scuba decompression illness and diving fatalities in an overseas military community. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1997 Apr;68(4):325-33. 
- Freiberger JJ, Lyman SJ, Denoble PJ, Pieper CF, Vann RD.Consensus factors used by experts in the diagnosis of decompression illness. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2004 Dec;75(12):1023-8. 
- Germonpre P. Patent foramen ovale and diving. Cardiol Clin. 2005 Feb;23(1):97-104. 
- Hunt JC. Diving the wreck: risk and injury in sport scuba diving. Psychoanal Q. 1996 Jul;65(3):591-622. 
- Moon RE, de Lisle Dear G, Stolp BW. Treatment of decompression illness and latrogenic gas embolism. Respir Care Clin N Am. 1999 Mar;5(1):93-135. 
- Smerz RW. Age associated risks of recreational scuba diving. Hawaii Med J. 2006 May;65(5):140-1, 153. 
- Tetzlaff K, Shank ES, Muth CM. Evaluation and management of decompression illness--an intensivist's perspective. Intensive Care Med. 2003 Dec;29(12):2128-36. 
- Tetzlaff K, Thorsen E.Breathing at depth: physiologic and clinical aspects of diving while breathing compressed gas. Clin Chest Med. 2005 Sep;26(3):355-80, v.