Saturday, January 07, 2006

DCS Risk, direct ascent from N2-O2 saturation dives, UHM 2005: VOL 32, ISSUE #6

Direct ascent from air and N2-O2 saturation dives in humans: DCS risk and evidence of a threshold.
H. D. Van Liew, E.T. Flynn

To estimate the risk of decompression sickness (DCS)for direct ascents from depth to the sea surface for personnel who are saturated with hyperbaric nitrogen, we analyzed 586 experimental air or nitrogen-based saturation dives. No DCS occurred on shallow saturation dives between 12.0 and 20.5 feet of seawater,gauge (fswg) but incidence of DCS rose abruptly when depth was deeper than 20.5 fswg, reaching 27% at 30 fswg. This is evidence of a threshold for clinical DCS.

A model based on a Hill function that provides for a threshold predicts the observations better than a model having no threshold provision; the no-threshold model overestimates risk shallower than 20.5 fswg and underestimates risk between 20.5 and 30 fswg. For situations such as submarine rescues,we recommend our threshold model when the exposure pressure is 33 fswg or less. We also discuss deeper dives where there are no human data; extrapolations can be quite different for models that provide for a threshold than for models that do not.