Analysis of some individual risk factors for decompression sickness in Hong Kong

Undersea Biomed Res. 1989 Jul;16(4):283-92.


Individual risk factors for decompression sickness (DCS) were studied in 932 men who had worked for 12 shifts or more at maximum working pressure (MWP) of 1 bar or above in a compressed air tunneling project in Hong Kong. Two dependent variables were used: presence or absence of bends and number of bends experienced by a man. Three hundred and fifty-six men (38.2%) had one or more bends. Univariate analysis showed that many variables were associated with presence or absence of bends. Logistic regression showed that the best equation included five independent variables: MWP, number of exposures, past number of bends, job (being a miner), and Quetelet Index (or Body Mass Index). The number of bends was also associated with many variables. Stepwise multiple regression revealed five important independent variables: ethnicity, MWP, Quetelet Index, number of exposures, and past number of bends. Obesity and past number of bends were therefore important risk factors for DCS after taking into account MWP and number of exposures. The age effect observed in univariate analysis could be due to obesity. Miners and Japanese had higher risks of DCS, probably due to their strenuous labor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • China / ethnology
  • Decompression Sickness / ethnology
  • Decompression Sickness / etiology*
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Japan / ethnology
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / ethnology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Skinfold Thickness