[Decompression problems in diving in mountain lakes]

Schweiz Z Sportmed. 1989 Aug;37(2):80-3; discussion 99-102.
[Article in French]


The relationship between tolerated high-pressure tissue nitrogen and ambient pressure is practically linear. The tolerated nitrogen high pressure decreases at altitude, as the ambient pressure is lower. Additionally, tissues with short nitrogen half-times have a higher tolerance than tissues which retain nitrogen for longer duration. For the purpose of determining safe decompression routines, the human body can be regarded as consisting of 16 compartments with half-times from 4 to 635 minutes for nitrogen. The coefficients for calculation of the tolerated nitrogen-high pressure in the tissues can be deduced directly from the half-times for nitrogen. We show as application the results of 573 simulated air dives in the pressure-chamber and 544 real dives in mountain lakes in Switzerland (1400-2600 m above sea level) and in Lake Titicaca (3800 m above sea level). They are in accordance with the computed limits of tolerance.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Altitude*
  • Atmospheric Pressure*
  • Diving*
  • Fresh Water
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Pressure
  • Switzerland


  • Nitrogen