Jun 7, 2014

Can you explain the transfer of gases into and out of a scuba diver’s body?

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Question: (Dive Medicine) Can you explain the transfer of gases into and out of a scuba diver’s body?

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Henry’s law can be used to examine the transfer of gases into and out of a scuba diver’s body.

Henry’s Law and the Diver

When a diver submerges breathing compressed air, the increased pressure causes more nitrogen to dissolve into the diver’s blood and tissues. Throughout the dive, as depth changes, nitrogen continues to dissolve into and out of the diver’s body. To avoid an excess of nitrogen in the body that could result in decompression sickness, the diver must follow established depth and time limits. Similarly, when breathing alternative gases under pressure, a diver must follow the proper depth and time profiles to avoid conditions that could cause adverse symptoms caused by the particular gases being used. It is important for divers to select a breathing gas mixture appropriate to the depth and demands of the dive.

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