Dysbaric osteonecrosis in diving fisherman: a case report

Kurtul S., GÜNGÖRDÜ N.

MEDICINA DEL LAVORO, vol.113, no.4, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 113 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.23749/mdl.v113i4.13251
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE
  • Keywords: Dysbaric osteonecrosis, diver, decompression sickness, DIVERS, RISK


Background: Dysbaric osteonecrosis (DON) is deined as avascular bone necrosis, usually involving speciic parts of the long bones, which is seen in divers or compressed-air workers due to exposure to pressure. We describe a case of DON in an artisanal diving isherman working underwater for many years. Methods: A 48-year-old male case was admitted to the occupational disease outpatient with left shoulder and arm pain for 1-2 years. Since the age of 20, he has been artisanal diving ishing with a hookah at a depth of 20-25 meters in the sea. In 2011, he received hyperbaric oxygen therapy for widespread pain in the whole body due to decompression sickness (DCS). In the case's left shoulder joint x-ray and magnetic resonance imaging, degenerative changes in the acromioclavicular joint and signal changes consistent with osteonecrosis starting from the subcortical area of the humeral head and extending to the proximal shaft of the humerus were observed. Conclusions: DON is among the most common long-term pa-thologies in professional divers. In Turkey, as in our case, not applying safe decompression procedures and unsafe div-ing practices are common among diving ishers. In studies, the frequency of exposure to pressure, duration and depth of dive, insufficient decompression, formation of DCS and increasing age were associated with DON. Today, DON remains an occupational hazard with signiicant medical and social consequences. Diving ishers should be informed about the sequelae of DCS and trained on the safety measures to be taken.