Diving and hyperbaric exposure is associated with a number of well recognised acute illnesses or injuries, including decompression illness (DCI), gas embolism and barotrauma. Recovery depends on the severity and nature of the diving incident, but in many cases it is complete. What remains less certain, however, are the possible long term health effects of diving, particularly in the absence of an injury. Dysbaric osteonecrosis has been associated with diving and is now a notifiable industrial disease in divers. Other aspects of health, however, have raised concern in divers but have not been conclusively associated with a career in diving, with any impact on quality of life or with a disease state. These include neurological abnormalities, lung function changes and inner ear damage.
The aim of the ELTHI diving study (Examination of Long Term Health Impact of diving) was to investigate the possible long term health effects of diving at work. Furthermore, the significance of health complaints was assessed in terms of health related quality of life, as well as by reference to population norms.
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