the bends

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the bends

Acute decompression sickness, the chokes Internal medicine A clinical complex caused by rapid whole body decompression, with intravascular 'boiling' of nitrogen, and resultant M&M in scuba divers and high-altitude pilots or workers in high-pressure environments–eg, caissons–in chronic decompression sickness Clinical Headache, N&V, vertigo, tinnitus, dyspnea, tachypnea, convulsions, shock, joint and abdominal pain; nitrogen gas in the brain causes 'boxcar' air bubbles in meningeal vessels separating the blood 'column', potentially causing death. Cf Caisson disease.