This symposium aims to give insight in the use of diving gases, their physiology and pathophysiology. The theme includes safety aspects, both medical as well as general. After this seminar, the physician will have the knowledge to decide which gas mixture for inhalation is most safe and adequate based on the planned exposure.
The metabolic gases This course aims to give insight into the effects of high partial pressures of oxygen as it occurs in diving and working in compressed air. Moreover, it discusses also the adverse effects of high partial pressures of oxygen, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. The reason for the favourable (not CO) as well as the adverse effects of these gases is that they play a prominent role in the metabolism; they are pre-eminently the metabolic gases. Their role in physiology and pathophysiology under normobaric, hyperbaric and also hypobaric (space and aviation) conditions will be discussed from historical as well as present day perspective.
The inert gases The most important inert gas in diving is the bi-molecule of nitrogen: N2. This gas is the prime cause of decompression illness and also of N2 narcosis. To prevent the former, often gas mixtures are applied with a lower N2 content than in air by partly exchanging N2 for He (and in special cases also H2).
Theoretical knowledge of the matter above is of importance for the diving physician and supervisor, since the adverse effects of O2, CO2, CO, N2 and He explain all kind of disorders. By choosing the correct gas mixture in diving and in tunnelling (bounce and saturation approach) disorders can be prevented. In diving and tunnelling the consequences of a wrong choice may be lethal.
After this seminar, the physician will have the understanding of the dangers of too high partial pressures of the various gases and will know how to select the adequate gas mixture.
The level of this seminar is at least that of an advanced course and therefore may be considered as a master class. A basic course in diving medicine (in the Netherlands e.g. by SHF or VSG) is a prerequisite for physicians. For instructors a thorough knowledge of gas mixture choice and handling, and of DCI prevention and gas toxicities is required.
Besides participants of the Netherlands, we also would like to welcome participants from abroad. We hope that their reduced fee is helpful to enable their attendance.