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September 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 39, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Which Divers Get DCS? DAN Tries to Determine

from the September, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Credible estimates of the incidence of decompression sickness are difficult to find. But Peter DeNoble, director of research at Divers Alert Network (DAN) led a team to analyze the rate among DAN members, and published the results in the journal Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine.

They estimated the annual per-capita incidence rates among DAN members who bought dive accident insurance and submitted injury claims between 2000 and 2007. (They didn't know how many dives each member had made, however.) They found that men submitted 28 percent more claims than women. The male-to-female difference was greatest between 35 and 40 years of age, and disappeared by the mid-50s.

The highest DCS rates showed up in the age 30-39 category, after which DCS-specific claims declined with increasing age, which DeNoble's team assumes is a result of more conservative diving. Divers who submitted claims in their first insured year were more likely to drop out than divers who submitted claims in later years, which suggests that treatment for DCS early in one's diving experience may be a disincentive to keep on diving.

"Per-capita Claim rates for Decompression Sickness among Insured Divers Alert Network Members," Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, Vol. 39, No.3, pgs. 709-715.

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