Symptoms of Decompression Illness

DCI is typically classified into two categories: Type I DCI and Type II DCI. Type I DCI is considered pain only and other mild symptoms, where Type II DCI is considered central nervous system involvement and very serious. Sometimes it’s very difficult to determine what type of DCI it is unless you’re professionally trained in diving medicine. However, it’s very important that you recognize DCI symptoms even if you’re not sure what category they fall under. Here is a breakdown of the symptoms you can expect for Type I and Type II DCI.

Type I symptoms

Skeletal and muscular systems: Muscle pain, joint pain, edema, swelling around joints, pressure feeling in muscle or joints

Skin: Itch, rash, splotchy discoloration (known as Skin Bends)

Other symptoms: Fatigue, soreness, and body aches

Type II symptoms

Brain: Dizziness, blurred vision, headache, convulsions, blindness, auditory disorders, personality changes, and unconsciousness

Spinal cord: Paralysis, weakness, loss of bowel and bladder control, motor function disorders, loss of balance, abdominal pain, pins and needles sensation, inability to urinate, sexually despondent

Peripheral nervous system: Muscle twitching, cool feet, local numbness

Respiratory system: Chokes, shallow rapid breathing, burning sensation on inspiration, shock