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

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperResearch


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of Validation of Dive Computers Workshop
    EditorsS. Lesley Blogg, Michael A. Lang, Andreas Mollerlokken
    PublisherEuropean Underwater and Baromedical Society
    Number of pages5
    ISBN (Electronic)978-82-321-0148-1
    ISBN (Print)978-82-321-0147-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    EventValidation of Dive Computers Workshop - Gdansk, Poland
    Duration: 24 Aug 201124 Aug 2011


    WorkshopValidation of Dive Computers Workshop


    • recreational diving


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