Caisson disease, also known as decompression sickness, is caused by a rapid decrease in pressure when a person is exposed to changes in altitude or depth. This rapid decrease in pressure causes nitrogen bubbles to form in the bloodstream, leading to a range of symptoms.
Diagnosis of Caisson disease is usually based on the patient’s history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Symptoms, such as joint pain, skin rash, and dizziness, may also be taken into consideration when diagnosing Caisson disease.
Differential diagnosis of Caisson disease includes other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as pulmonary embolism, spinal cord injury, and deep vein thrombosis.
Treatment of Caisson disease includes a combination of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, rest, and medications. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the oxygen concentration in the blood, which helps the body dissolve the nitrogen bubbles and can reduce symptoms. Rest is also important in order to reduce strain on the body and allow it to recover. Medications may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain.
The prognosis for Caisson disease is generally good and most patients recover within a few days with treatment. In severe cases, however, permanent damage may occur, which can lead to long-term disability.