Desaturation

16.02.2017 by Felix Wiesel
safety stop

Desaturation is a technical term, which has to do with decompression. During ascension, so when ascending after a dive, pressure compensation takes place. Because the pressure is significantly higher under water than at the surface. By means of the high pressure under water, gases are released from the lungs into the body fluids. In order to avoid decompression sickness, these gases have to be transferred back into the lungs when ascending. This process is designated as desaturation by divers.

However, this only becomes dangerous for the diver if this process takes place too quickly:  Because then the lungs cannot exhale the gases fast enough, so that gas bubbles are formed.  This is called the decompression sickness.

How long does desaturation last?

The different body fluids desaturate at different speeds. As such, the gases in the blood, spinal cord and brain are eliminated relatively quickly. In contrast, this takes a little bit longer in the skin, the muscles and the bones.

Insofar there are standard values for the duration of this process, which you can gather from the dive tables or your diving computer.


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