Author(s): Lehner CE, Adams WM, Dubielzig RR, Palta M, Lanphier EH. Dysbaric osteonecrosis in divers and caisson workers. An animal model. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1997 Nov;(344):320-32.
Journal: Clinical Orthopaedics And Related Research, Issue 344, Nov 1997
Dysbaric osteonecrosis was induced successfully in adult sheep after 12 to 13, 24-hour exposures to compressed air (2.6-2.9 atmospheres absolute) during a 2-month period. All exposed sheep had decompression sickness and extensive bone and marrow necrosis in their long bones. Radiographic analysis of these progressive lesions showed mottled to distinct medullary opacities and endosteal thickening characteristic of dysbaric osteonecrosis. Six months after the last hyperbaric exposure, neovascularization of once ischemic fatty marrow was centripetal from the diaphyseal cortex. Proliferating endosteal new bone, fatty marrow calcification, and appositional new bone formation were widespread. Juxtaarticular osteonecrosis involved marrow fibrosis and loss of osteocytes in subchondral cortical bone. Tidemark reduplication in juxtaarticular bone and cartilage thinning suggested possible early osteoarthritis induction by recurrent episodes of transient ischemia after multiple hyperbaric exposures. Dysbaric osteonecrosis appears to involve a bone compartment syndrome of elevated intramedullary pressure initiated by decompression induced N2 bubble formation in the fatty marrow of the long bones. An animal model that can be used to investigate the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of dysbaric osteonecrosis is discussed.