Nitrogen NarcosisDo I Have a Case?
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Nitrogen narcosis frequently referred to as “rapture of the deep,” is not fully understood by current science, but in simple terms is the tendency of nitrogen under pressure to affect the human brain and neurological system. This event can be cause a serious scuba diving accident. Since the air we breathe is approximately 79% nitrogen, when air is compressed in a scuba tank, this means that the diver is breathing 79% nitrogen. The remainder of air is mostly oxygen and a small amount of other gases. When the diver descends and water pressure increases, the nitrogen under pressure has a neurological affect on the diver. Frequently, this is referred to as being similar to alcohol intoxication. Although the example of alcohol intoxication is not 100% accurate, the bottom line is that the deeper the diver goes, the more the diverÍs judgment, dexterity, and coordination are impaired.
Most dive certification agencies consider 130 feet as the maximum safe operating depth for recreational divers. We believe that the effects of nitrogen narcosis start at a much shallower depth and compromise the diver’s judgment, coordination, and dexterity at depths as shallow as 50 feet. To make matters worse, the diver does not realize he or she is being adversely affected, and can make critical judgment errors due to nitrogen narcosis.
Fortunately, nitrogen narcosis is not permanent and causes no damage to the human body after the diver ascends to a level to where the effects of nitrogen have subsided. Unfortunately, with an inexperienced and poorly trained diver who is not prepared for the impact of nitrogen narcosis, the results can be fatal. We can help you find out what went wrong.