DAN Medical Research
Flying After Treatment

In 2003, DAN conducted an online survey of divers who were recompressed for decompression illness (DCI) within the past five years and then flew. Flying after diving is a recognized DCI risk factor. Divers, who are treated for DCI with recompression therapy in locations far from home, must fly home and potentially face additional problems from DCI on those flights. One would think that by waiting a certain length of time after recompression, one could limit the risk of relapse. So the question is how long one should wait to fly after recompression therapy.

This was one of the goals of the anonymous survey. In addition, DAN was trying to learn how often DCI relapses occur after recompression therapy; and what effect flying after recompression had on DCI relapse.

Currently, there is very little data to answer the question of how long to wait but some recommendations range from the most common of 72 hours to 4-6 weeks, which is the longest.

A review of the DAN DCI data from 1993-1995 where 151 cases were treated in Cozumel or Cayman and 126 were successfully followed up with, showed that 95 divers had complete relief after treatment and 9 (10%) had a relapse of symptoms with flight. 31 divers finished treatment with residual symptoms and 22 (71%) had a relapse with flight.

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