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caisson sickness


Definition: disease caused by rapid decompression; so named because it appeared in workers building tunnels or supports for bridges working in enclosed units under high atmospheric pressure to keep out surrounding water, called caissons.

See: decompression sickness

[Fr. caisson (fr. caisse, a chest) a water-tight box or cylinder containing air under high pressure used in sinking structural pilings underwater]

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.