Risk Factors

A variety of risk factors have been identified over the past century in an effort to explain the variations in susceptibility to DI 2-4,14,21-24,108-123. These include:

• Altitude Exposure: either diving at altitude or subsequent exposure

• Exercise: before, after or during the bottom phase of a dive

• Injury: previous DI or other acute injuries

• Omitted decompression: missed stops / errors of depth monitoring

• Uncontrolled ascents

• Personal traits (gender; physiognomy; level of fitness)

• Profiles: (variables of depth, multiple ascents, ascent rates and the depth prior to final ascent to the surface within the same 'squareprofile' or depth-time envelope)

• Previous dives: residual nitrogen

• Hypoventilation: CO2 build-up

• Hypothermia: gas retention-release due to solubility changes

• Hypovolemia: dehydration and hemoconcentration

Although the relevance of individual factors is understood and - in some cases - obvious, there is surprisingly little evidence on the relative contributions of these factors towards the overall risk 38. The following are discussed in more detail below:

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