Cutaneous Decompression Sickness: Clinical Manifestations

The designation of superficial erythematous rash and itch as part of the mild constellation of DCS symptoms has already been discussed. The skin manifestation known as cutis marmorata sits outside the mild definition because of its frequent association with more serious manifestations. Cutis marmorata has a marbled, blotchy appearance in which areas of deep erythema and sometimes cyanotic change are interrupted and bounded by areas of pallor. The rash can evolve quite quickly and can even change appearance over a short period of observation. The rash can be itchy at first, but as it progresses it becomes less irritating or sometimes painful. Despite its often dramatic appearance, the rash almost invariably resolves with no obvious injury to the cutaneous tissues. The significance of cutis marmorata is its moderately frequent association with other more serious manifestations such as spinal DCS.