Review of scuba diving fatalities and decompression illness in Australia.

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Review of scuba diving fatalities and decompression illness in Australia.

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Title: Review of scuba diving fatalities and decompression illness in Australia.
Author: Lippmann, J
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Recreational scuba diving is a popular activity in Australia, especially around the Great Barrier Reef. Despite efforts by the industry and various governments to reduce the risk, there remains substantial morbidity and mortality as a result of diving. The aim of this study was to estimate the historical and current risk of death and decompression illness associated with scuba diving in Australia. METHOD: Data were collected through comprehensive internet searches of various journals and electronic databases using appropriate general and medical search engines, hand searches of relevant journals, searches of the DAN Asia-Pacific dive fatality and decompression illness databases, and consultation with various recompression facilities, and diver certification agencies and dive industry bodies. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: There were 566 diving fatalities reported between 1972 and 2006, of which 290 divers were using scuba. In addition, a total of 3,558 divers were treated for decompression illness in Australian chambers during 1995-2007 financial years. Using recent surveys of scuba diving activity, it can be estimated that there were in excess of 1.75 million scuba dives conducted in Australia in 2006. On the basis of the available data, the mortality rate in scuba divers in Australia can be estimated to be 0.57 per 100,000 dives during 2002-2006. Similarly, the incidence of decompression illness during that period in Australia was 10.74 per 100,000 dives or lower. There has been no significant increase in the annual number of scuba diving fatalities from 1972 to 2006.
Description: The Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (Incorporated in Victoria) A0020660B and the European Underwater and Baromedical Society
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/10626
Date: 2008

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