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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Caisson disease of bone.

Caisson disease of bone, which may affect compressed air workers and divers, is characterized by regions of bone and marrow necrosis that may lead to secondary osteoarthrosis of the hip and shoulder joints. A review of the pathologic, radiologic, and clinical aspects demonstrated uncertainties in the exact etiology. Early diagnosis is often not possible because of the delayed appearance of radiologic abnormalities. Research into these two aspects of this condition was carried out by the Medical Research Council Decompression Sickness Research Team in Newcastle upon Tyne over a ten-year period (1972 to 1982). Because no suitable animal model exists for the study of this condition, bone and marrow necrosis was produced by embolism of bone blood vessels with glass microspheres. With this model, it was shown that the presence of bone and marrow necrosis could be detected by bone scintigraphy using 99mTc-MDP and by measuring changes in serum ferritin concentration at a much earlier stage than was possible by radiography. However, only the former method has proved useful in clinical practice. Investigations into the etiology of caisson disease of bone have shown evidence for an increase in marrow fat cell size resulting from hyperoxia. This phenomenon may play a role in the production and localization of gas bubble emboli, which are thought to be the cause of the bone and marrow necrosis.[1]


  1. Caisson disease of bone. Gregg, P.J., Walder, D.N. Clin. Orthop. Relat. Res. (1986) [Pubmed]
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