Midlands Recompression & Hyperbaric facilities - The Midlands Diving Chamber

Causes of Decompression Illness (DCI)

These tables also include calculations based upon the surface interval between dives and residual nitrogen off-loading during the time between dives. The original tables have 3 problems:

  1. The tables are based on young, healthy and fit, Navy volunteers. Since many civilian divers do not fit this profile, the tables have limitations.

  2. The rapidly expanding use of dive computers takes into account the actual time spent at each depth. This allows for more time under water and removes a built-in factor that helps keep divers in the conservative range.

  3. There is an increasing number of casual divers.

The best defence against DCI is diving conservatively. However, divers may still develop DCI.

Today, diving experts recommend a safety stop at 3 or 5 metres for 3-5 minutes. For no-decompression dives, this is essentially a decompression stop. Since the largest change in pressure per metre occurs in the last 5 metres just under the surface, this stop allows for additional nitrogen equilibration and off-loading.

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