Decompression sickness (DCS) has been clinically classified as Type I (predominantly joint pain) or Type II (predominantly spinal cord lesions). We present 3 cases that are all characterized by severe (Type II) DCS with signs and symptoms of spinal cord injury occurring in conjunction with arterial gas embolism (AGE). We consider the AGE "minor" because only 2 of the 3 subjects initially lost consciousness, and in all cases the signs and symptoms of the AGE had essentially resolved within 1 h or by the time recompression therapy began. DCS was resistant to recompression therapy, even though treatment began promptly after the accident in 2 of the 3 cases. None of the cases had a good neurologic outcome and there has been one death. None of the divers exceeded the U.S. Navy "no-stop" limits for the depths at which they were diving. We have observed a previously unreported clinical syndrome characterized by severe Type II DCS subsequent to AGE following pressure-time exposures that would normally not be expected to produce DCS. We postulate that AGE may have precipitated or predisposed to this form of DCS.
Neuman, Bove, , , , , , , (1990). Combined arterial gas embolism and decompression sickness following no-stop dives. Undersea biomedical research, 1990 Sep;17(5):429-36. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2219551