Venous gas emboli (VGE) are bubbles that form and grow in a diver’s tissues and bloodstream during the decompression phase of the dive. Although VGE has long been associated with decompression stress, the precise relationship with decompression sickness is unknown. In addition, new theories suggest that cellular debris known as microparticles may have an important role in the inflammatory pathways that could contribute to decompression sickness.
This study aims to study how VGE and microparticle levels grow and change in patients diagnosed with clinical decompression sickness. We will accomplish this goal by using clinical grade ultrasounds to evaluate VGE load and blood samples to measure microparticles throughout the course of a patient’s hyperbaric treatment(s).