The diagnosis of decompression illness (DCI), which is based on a history of decompression and clinical findings, can sometimes be confounded with other vascular events of the central nervous system. The authors report three cases of divers who were urgently transported to a hyperbaric facility for hyperbaric oxygen treatment of DCI which at admission turned out to be something else. The first case, a 45-year-old experienced diver with unconsciousness, was clinically diagnosed as having experienced subarachnoid hemorrhage, which was confirmed by CT scan. The second case, a 49-year-old fisherman with a hemiparesis which occurred during diving, was diagnosed as cerebral stroke, resulting in putaminal hemorrhage. The third case, a 54-year-old fisherman with sensory numbness, ataxic gait and urinary retention following sudden post-dive onset of upper back pain, was diagnosed as spinal epidural hematoma; he also showed blood collection in the spinal canal. Neurological insults following scuba diving can present clinically with confusing features of cerebral and/or spinal DCI. We emphasize the importance of considering cerebral and/or spinal vascular diseases as unusual causes of neurological deficits after or during diving.
Kohshi, Morimatsu, Tamaki, Murata, Kohshi, Ishitake, Denoble, , (). Cerebrospinal vascular diseases misdiagnosed as decompression illness: the importance of considering other neurological diagnoses. Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, ;44(4):309-313. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28783886