Terminology For And Classification Of Dysbaric Illnesses

DI has suffered from great inconsistency in terminology and classification. There are many reasons for this, including wide variations in latency, severity and diagnostic certainty. In addition, the boundaries between arterial gas embolization and decompression sickness are blurred due to possible arterialization of venous gas. These factors have confounded research and remain an ongoing challenge.

There are many ways to classify medical conditions in general, e.g., by diagnosis, prognosis, pathology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, etc. The objective for classification is usually for the purpose of simplification. This may include improving communication between clinicians; determining treatment guidelines; establishing prognosis; or conducting research and analyzing epidemiological data.

Unlike most other diseases, there is no definitive test for DI. It is only the causality to decompression and the prevalence of neurological involvement that respectively provide epidemiological boundaries and clinical relevance to defining and classifying the condition. To date no single system has emerged that provides both clear pathological stratification and clinical utility.

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