• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Nitrox instead of air for lower DCS risk?

Discussion in 'Ask Dr. Decompression' started by BigTuna, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. BigJetDriver

    BigJetDriver Great White Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    I'm sure we all yearn to hear who this gentleman might be, and how his credentials and experience in the field stack up against gentlemen like Wells, and Rutkowski.

    We would also like, I am sure, to see some references to this research that is alluded to. I have not read, recently, any ground-breaking research papers negating the concept mentioned earlier, but...I wait with great anticipation!
  2. H2Andy

    H2Andy Blue Whale

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NE Florida
    haha! flattery will get you everything eyebrow

    if by fantastic they mean "only strangles himself on his hose half the time" then
    yeah, that's me

    do look forward to diving with you (are you coming to the July Keys thing?)

    hey, it's always good to discuss these things. i always learn something.
  3. BigJetDriver

    BigJetDriver Great White Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    Okay, the point of contention here is this. Should Nitrox be used while diving it on an Air Table?

    It was pointed out that one of the founders of the use of Nitrox by recreational divers, Dick Rutkowski, says that this is perfectly acceptable to obtain a (slight) statistical safety advantadge, as long as the MOD and oxygen constraints are kept in mind. (Reference the tables from Harris Taylor, PhD)

    Artic Diver says that his instructor told him this is not okay.

    My point is quite simple. Dick Rutkowski, (The man who, along with Morgan Wells, brought the use of Nitrox to the diving community), says that this is an okay practice. Some unknown instructor, and Arctic Diver, say it is not.

    We are then forced to compare the credentials of Mr. Rutkowski with the unknown instructor and Artic Diver to find out who might actually know more about the subject. Here follows Mr. Rutkowski's resume:

    Dick Rutkowski

    Mr. Rutkowski retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1985 with 33 years of federal service. He served as Deputy Diving Coordinator. He was founder and director of the NOAA Diving/Hyperbaric Training and Diver Treatment Facility from 1973 to 1985 where hundreds of divers have been treated. He also served as co-director for the NOAA/UHMS three week physicians diving and hyperbaric medical training program for the past 21 years. During this time, hundreds of physicians have completed their program and are presently serving as directors or physicians for major hyperbaric facilities in the country.

    Mr. Rutkowski also served as director of ESSA/NOAA Diver Training from 1965 until he retired. He has acquired vast knowledge of diving life support systems including the NOAA saturation systems such as:

    La Chalupa

    Mr. Rutkowski has saturated many times and is a NOAA aquanaut. In addition, Mr. Rutkowski is a graduate of Divers Training Academy and past owner and president of "Dive Incorporated", a commercial diving company whose primary purpose was to service oil rigs. Upon retiring from federal service in 1985, Mr. Rutkowski formed Hyperbarics International, Inc for the purpose of educating and consulting in the field of hyperbarics medicine, diving gases and life support systems.

    After retiring from NOAA, Mr. Rutkowski has continued to use his vast knowledge conducting training programs for agencies such as NOAA, USN, USAF, NASA, EPA, U.S. Customs, Panama Canal Commission, hospitals, commercial diving companies and foreign navies.

    Since 1985 Mr. Rutkowski has taught thousands of professionals in programs such as recompression chambers, engineering, diving gases, physics, physiology, pathophysiology, and the medical aspects of diving. Mr. Rutkowski is past president/vice president of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Gulf Coast Chapter, founder of the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers and co-founder of the American Nitrox Divers Association, International Board of Undersea Medicine, Hyperbarics International, Inc., Undersea Breathing Systems, and the Undersea Research Foundation. He has also organized and founded diving safety organizations such as the Florida Underwater Council and Society of Diving Safety (Turks and Caicos Islands).

    In the early and mid 1970's Mr. Rutkowski taught the first diving accident management courses, including the importance of oxygen use at the dive site by lay persons. At first his theory was widely criticized but now this concept is taught nationally by all certification agencies. In 1978, Dick Rutkowski wrote and published the first diving accident management manual setting the standard used by the Divers Alert Network. During the first two years of publication (1978-79) over 250, 000 copies were distributed.

    Mr. Rutkowski has written and lectured extensively on all forms of diving life support systems, gases, undersea and hyperbaric medicine, and has installed over 18 hyperbaric facilities in hospitals and field locations. His ongoing training programs have taught thousands of physicians, allied medical personnel, dive supervisors and instructors, undersea and hyperbaric medicine including chamber operations. He has written training manuals for Nitrox use entitled "Instructor/Student Guide for the Use of Nitrogen-Oxygen Mixtures as a Divers' Breathing Gas," " The Complete Guide to Nitrox Diving," "Introduction to Nitrox Diving," and the diving accident management manual mentioned above, a Recompression Chamber life support manual "Instructor/Student Guide for the Use of Breathing Gases During Hyperbaric Exposures," and "Mixing/Blending for Nitrox and Trimix". In addition he has been a contributor and editor of the NOAA Diving Manual and training films.

    For his long, dedicated service to research science and diving, Dick Rutkowski has received many awards and honors, including:

    a glacier in Antarctica named after him in 1976 by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names

    the 1976 NOAA Public Service Award

    nomination for the 1976 Dade County (Florida) Outstanding Citizen Award

    nomination for the honorary Ph.D. from Florida International University

    elected to the Explorers Club as a Fellow, 1995

    many others.

    Contact Dick Rutkowski, President of Hyperbarics International, Inc. and Secretary/Founder BOD of IAND, Inc./IANTD at:

    490 Caribbean Drive Key Largo, FL 33037 (305) 451-2551 dick@hyperbaricsinternational.com
    Hyperbarics International Website

    I humbly suggest that our readers can make up their own minds who they might wish to take instruction from in this particular case. I rest my case.
  4. BigJetDriver

    BigJetDriver Great White Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    I have taken the liberty of excerpting my own post to (literally) highlight one important fact.

    It is a fair criticism to say that Dick Rutkowski did NOT write the book on Nitrox use. He has written MANY of them!:D

    Since Mr. Rutkowski brought us Nitrox as a gas for recreational divers, sometimes in the face of opposition from PADI, and other agencies, (remember the phrase "Voodoo Gas"?) it is ultimately fair to say that we can accept his judgement about the uses of Nitrox.

    Since HE says it is very acceptable to dive Nitrox on Air Tables (always taking into account MOD and oxygen limitations), then it simply IS ACCEPTABLE TO DO SO.

    You can take that one to the bank, folks!:doctor:
  5. DivesWithTurtles

    DivesWithTurtles Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Winter Springs, FL
    I think in the discussion of EAN on Air tables this statement implies an extremely important point. Per much research, nitrogen loading does not appear to be the only factor in DCS. Always keep in mind very influential factors such as hydration, ascent profile, exercise during and after the dive, etc.
  6. Jordan

    Jordan Nassau Grouper

    Repeat: air is dangerous for diving!
  7. RiverRat

    RiverRat Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Connecticut
    I think we all can agree, air CAN be dangerous for diving, if you push it too far. But so can Trimix if you push it, right? In other words, any gas/profile can get you into trouble if you don't know what you're doing or you push the limits too far. Nitrox is the way to go for deeper/longer recreational profiles. Or for safety on shallower dives if you prefer. But in some places, air is all you can get. So you dive air as safely as possible. Or you don't dive there. Simple.
  8. sky50960

    sky50960 Nassau Grouper

    Well of course ifyou dive safe your risck of DCA is very low...

    But undesired DCS does ( rarely of course) but does happen, and some people doe have predisposing factors to DCS (PFO...)

    When a DCS accident occures on Nitrox this acident might be less severe.

    Post dive m├ętabolic stress regardind evacuation of nitrogen is reduced and so les fatigue.

    So there are certain advantages to dive Nitrox

    But For me the biggest advantage is longer bottem time... it really makes a difference...
  9. sky50960

    sky50960 Nassau Grouper


    That is also true for nitrox hihihih
  10. Trekker

    Trekker Garibaldi

    Most training organizations hold the stance that there is no statistical reduction in DCS risk when diving to recreational depths using EANx over air. The reason for that is because the statistical probability of DCS is so low to begin with. The risk that does increase however is problems associated with increasing the partial pressure of oxygen at depth. Obviously you need to stay ABOVE the maximum operating depth of the mix that you are using, and determining what that is, is somehting that you need to be able to do for yourself. It's also very important that you learn to properly analyze the gas that you are going to use, before you use it. I've seen lots of cases of what was supposed to be 32% actually analyzing much higher. Another thing that you should consider before deciding to switch to an increased O2%, is that there are many physiological factors that can increase your chance of a CNS incident, one of those is increased buildup of CO2 in your body. Breathing heavy, working hard, or out of shape (cardio) are some of the things that will increase CO2 retention. As you can see it's possible that you could be trading the already very statistically low probability of DCS for a possibly dangerous exposure to Oxygen Toxicity. Hmmmm.

    Just food for thought.

Share This Page