The aim of this study was to examine the long-term effects of neurological decompression illness (NDCI) on recreational divers. Thirty-seven divers who had been treated for neurological decompression illness at least 2 years previously, and a control group of 50 divers with no history of decompression illness, responded to a postal questionnaire. Divers in the accident group reported more symptoms of neurological damage, were more likely to believe that diving had a deleterious effect on their health and were more likely to indicate symptoms of psychiatric morbidity. The quantity of diving in the year preceding the survey was associated with reports of neurological damage in both groups and with symptoms of psychiatric morbidity in the accident group. Although requiring confirmation from a longitudinal study, these results suggest that recreational diving can have negative long-term consequences for health, particularly after decompression illness.
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