Decompression tables, their use and problems.

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Title: Decompression tables, their use and problems.
Author: Gorman, DF
Abstract: Introduction: The decompression of divers, caisson workers, aviators, and astronauts is occasionally complicated by dysbaric illnesses, including barotrauma, decompression sickness (DCS) and arterial gas embolism. To limit the occurrence of DCS, these decompressions are usually performed in accordance with a set of depth-time rules, a decompression table. It is hoped that by using these tables the rate of excretion of inert gases from the lungs will prevent gas bubbles from forming in tissues and in venous blood, and hence that DCS will be avoided. The frequent occurrence of DCS in all of these groups demonstrates that either available decompression tables cannot prevent DCS or that none of these groups can adequately comply with available tables. It is most likely that virtually any decompression can generate gas bubbles, that the response to such bubbles varies in an individual considerably from day to day and is a major determinant of the outcome of any decompression, and that conservative decompression practice only reduces the probability of DCS and can never totally prevent it. A risk-benefit approach to activities such as diving is obviously then the most appropriate one, and the concept of a “safe” decompression table is almost certainly naive.
Description: Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/9319
Date: 1989

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