Dive Computer Use in Recreational Diving: Insights from the DAN-DSL Database

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Dive Computer Use in Recreational Diving: Insights from the DAN-DSL Database

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Title: Dive Computer Use in Recreational Diving: Insights from the DAN-DSL Database
Author: Balestra, C
Abstract: Data from the DAN Europe Diving Safety Laboratory (DSL) suggest that approximately 95% of recreational diving is carried out today using a dive computer. The most widely dived computers/algorithms, irrespective of brand, use the Bühlmann ZHL-16 or the Wienke RGBM algorithm, with roughly a 50/50 distribution across the DSL population. The vast majority of the 167 recorded decompression sickness (DCS) cases occurred without any significant violation of the respective algorithm’s limits, i.e., most occurred while using gradient factors that were well below the maximum allowed by the algorithm. The DSL database and field research also show that many other physiological variables may be involved in the pathogenesis of DCS, even within computed “safe” limits, causing a variable individual response despite similar inert gas supersaturation levels. We conclude that the current computer validation modalities, although important and useful as a basic benchmark, still allow a probability of DCS beyond ideal levels in a recreational setting. In order to limit unexpected DCS a more aggressive “biological” approach is recommended that is able to identify and then control the most significant physiological variables involved in the pathogenesis of DCS, in addition to the inert gas supersaturation levels.
Description: The publication of the Proceedings of the Validation of Dive Computer Workshop is cosponsored by NTNU and the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority. The symposium was convened by the Baromedical and Environmental Physiology Group of NTNU on August 24, 2011, at the 37th Annual Meeting of the European Underwater and Baromedical Society in Gdansk, Poland.
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/10152
Date: 2012

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