Exposure of the human subject to an environment of greatly altered barometric pressure so disturbs the organism which has always been adjusted to the normal atmospheric pressure of fifteen pounds to the square inch that there frequently arises a train of symptoms at once most interesting and most varied.
No one term has ever been adopted for this curious affection; therefore aëropathy suggests itself as simpler and more comprehensive than the older and more restricted terms, "caisson disease," "diver's palsy," "bends," "compressed air illness" and "balloon sickness," for even this last-named disease is similar in its manifestations and probably identical in its etiology with that of compressed air illness.
The vast engineering feats of the past half century in which compressed air has been used to permit men to work under water for mining, for laying foundations of bridges, buildings, jetties, etc., and in submarine tunneling, have in effect created
ERDMAN S. AËROPATHY OR COMPRESSED AIR ILLNESS AMONG TUNNEL WORKERS.. JAMA. 1907;XLIX(20):1665-1670. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.25320200023002f