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Undersea Biomed Res. 1982 Dec;9(4):335-51.

Effect of compression rate on use of trimix to ameliorate HPNS in man to 686 m (2250 ft).


Previous man dives, in a series designed to evaluate the physiological effects of helium, nitrogen, and oxygen (trimix), investigated the comparative effects of 5% vs. 10% nitrogen with fast compression (12 h 20 min) to 460 m (1509 ft) and subsequent compression over 2.5 d to 650 m (2132 ft). In 1981 three divers were compressed twice as slowly as for these earlier dives to 650 m over a period of 6 d 8 h using 10% N2 in heliox. An extensive series of studies were made over 4 d 15 h at 650 m before further compression to 686 m (2250 ft) for a stay of 24 h with extensive tests of psychological and neurophysiological performance, pulmonary function, reflex, Doppler, and other studies. High pressure nervous syndrome (HPNS) tremors and EEG theta activity increases were effectively controlled with no nausea, vomiting, or somnolence (microsleep). Some euphoria was present. At 686 m there was a 20% to 30% impairment of concentration and attention; otherwise the physical condition of the divers was fine and they completed all tasks without difficulty. Slow compression prevented the initial large performance decrement of 40% to 50% on Day 1 as found in previous fast-compression dives. Otherwise the performance tests showed much the same decrement of 15% to 20% seen in earlier dives; deeper than 570 m (1870 ft), however, the addition test was worse, with a decrement of 35%. The results are discussed with respect to the previous two dives with faster compression, and the possible nonlinearity of nitrogen antagonism of HPNS is considered.

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