Edwin T. Long

Project title: Diver Thermal Exposure as Risk Factor for Venous Gas Emboli in U.S. Navy Divers

Degree: MPH | Program: Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2009 | Faculty advisor: Sverre Vedal


"Caissons" (the French word for "big box"), are large, dry, pressurized chambers allowing workers to work underwater in the construction of bridge footings and tunnels. "Caissons disease" was the diagnosis given caisson workers who presented with "dizziness, difficulty breathing, or sharp joint or abdominal pain" upon returning to the surface at the end of their work shift. The initial clinical description of caissons disease was by a French physiologist in 1878, Paul Bert, who additionally recommended a "slow and gradual ascent" to avoid the onset of symptoms. During the construction of the Brooklyn tunnel the term "bends" was popularized in the United States for the unusual manner of walking by those with symptoms associated with this construction work. This affliction eventually became known as "decompression sickness." Decompression sickness (DCS) has been the historical disease of compressed gas workers, and although originally reported in early caisson workers, it continues to this day to be of concern to both them and deep sea divers.

Taken from beginning of thesis.