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Recreational diving today: decompression habits, DAN Europe database insights
Balestra, C.; Cialoni, D.; Buzzacott, P.; Hemelryck, W.; Papadopoulou, V.; Pieri, M.; Marroni, A. (2017). Recreational diving today: decompression habits, DAN Europe database insights, in: Balestra, C. et al. The science of diving. Things your instructor never told you. pp. [13-39]
In: Balestra, C.; Germonpré, P. (2017). The science of diving. Things your instructor never told you. Lambert Academic Publishing/Éditions Acrodacrolivres: Villers-la-Ville. ISBN 978-2-512007-36-4. [262] pp., more

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Authors  Top 
  • Balestra, C., more
  • Cialoni, D., more
  • Buzzacott, P.
  • Hemelryck, W., more
  • Papadopoulou, V., more
  • Pieri, M.
  • Marroni, A.

    Compared with other sports, SCUBA diving remains a relatively safe activity but precisely defining risk is important. Diving databases such as the Diving Safety Laboratory (DSL) collection by Divers Alert Network (DAN) Europe can provide new insights into the causes of diving accidents, including decompression sickness (DCS) incidence with respect to the dive profile. Data from the DSL shows that in the recreational setting diving with a dive computer may be used by as many as 95% of divers. This points to the need of validating these tools with respect to DCS incidence, a difficult task. The most widely used computers/algorithms in Europe are nowadays, irrespective of brand, the Bühlmann ZHL and the Wienke RGBM based ones, with a roughly 50/50 distribution of each within the DAN Europe DSL diver population. Analysis of the DSL database shows that the vast majority of all recorded DCS cases occurred without any violation of the respective algorithms, in other words, with compartment inert gas pressures well below the maxima allowed.. In addition, 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. The current dive computer validation procedures, although important and most useful as a first benchmark, still allow for a probability of DCS beyond ideal acceptability in a recreational setting. A more aggressive “physiological” approach to testing and validation of decompression algorithms should be implemented, as the recreational diving population nowadays is far from the fit 18-22year old military diver which constitutes most of the validation dataset from the US Navy. Such an approach needs to be able to identify and control the most significant physiological variables involved in the pathogenesis of DCS together with the inert gas supersaturation values, and relate both to the decompression algorithms.

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