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caisson disease

Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Decompression sickness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The painful condition in which bubbles of nitrogen form in body tissues after a person makes too-rapid a transition from high atmospheric pressure to lower atmospheric pressure.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A disease frequently induced by remaining for some time in an atmosphere of high pressure, as in caissons, diving bells, etc. It is characterized by neuralgic pains and paralytic symptoms. It is caused by the release of bubbles of gas, usually nitrogen, from bodily fluids into the blood and tissues, when a person, having been in an environment with high air pressure, moves to a lower pressure environment too rapidly for the excess dissolved gases to be released through normal breathing. It may be fatal, but can be reversed or alleviated by returning the affected person to a high air pressure, and then gradually decreasing the pressure to allow the gases to be released from the body fluids. It is a danger well known to divers. It is also called the bends and decompression sickness. It can be prevented in divers by a slow return to normal pressure, or by using a breathing mixture of oxygen combined with a gas having low solubility in water, such as helium.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A disease developed in coming from an atmosphere of high tension, as in caissons, to air of ordinary tension. It is marked by paralysis and other nervous symptoms.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. pain resulting from rapid change in pressure

Etymologies

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Examples

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Comments

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  • C_b, I think it was named after the diving-bell sort of structure(s) the workers had to be in to perform underwater construction. Here's more info.

    July 10, 2008

  • Dr. Andrew Smith first utilized the term "caisson disease" describing 110 cases of decompression sickness as the physician in charge during construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. The project employed 600 compressed air workers. Recompression treatment was not used. The project chief engineer Washington Roebling suffered from caisson disease. (He took charge after his father John Augustus Roebling died of tetanus.) Washington's wife, Emily, helped manage the construction of the bridge after his sickness confined him to his home in Brooklyn. He battled the after-effects of the disease for the rest of his life. During this project, decompression sickness became known as "The Grecian Bends" because afflicted individuals characteristically arched their backs: this is possibly reminiscent of a then fashionable women's dance maneuver known as the Grecian Bend.

    July 9, 2008

  • Hm. Why was it called caisson disease?

    July 9, 2008

  • See also the bends

    December 20, 2007