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High Pressure Nervous Syndrome (HPNS - also known as High Pressure Neurological Syndrome) is a neurological and physiological diving disorder that results when a diver spends too much time breathing a high-pressure mixture of helium and oxygen (heliox).[1] HPNS is a limiting factor in future deep diving.

"Helium tremors" were first described in 1965 by Royal Navy physiologist Peter B. Bennett, who also founded the Divers Alert Network.[1][2] Zal'tsman also reported on helium tremors in his experiments from 1961. Unfortunately these reports were not available in the west until 1967.[3]

The term high pressure nervous syndrome was first used by Brauer to describe the combined symptoms of tremor, electroencephalography (EEG) changes, and somnolence that appeared during a 1,189-foot (362 m) chamber dive in Marseilles.[4]

Contents

Symptoms

Symptoms of HPNS include tremors, myoclonic jerking, somnolence, EEG changes[5], visual disturbance, nausea, dizziness, and decreased mental performance.[1][2]

The susceptibility of divers and animals to HPNS does depend on the individual.[1]

Suppressive Measures

It is not likely that HPNS can be prevented entirely but there are effective methods to delay or change the development of the symptoms.[1][6]

Rate of Compression

Utilizing slow rates of compression or adding stops to the compression have been found to prevent large initial decrements in performance.[1][7]

Breathing Mixture

Including other gases in the mix, such as nitrogen (creating trimix) or hydrogen (hydreliox) suppresses the neurological effects.[8][9][10]

Drugs

Alcohol, anesthetics and anticonvulsant drugs have had varying results in suppressing HPNS with animals.[1] None are currently in use for humans.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Brubakk, A. O.; T. S. Neuman (2003). Bennett and Elliott's physiology and medicine of diving, 5th Rev ed.. United States: Saunders Ltd.. p. 800. ISBN 0702025712.  
  2. ^ a b Bennett, P. B. (1965). "Psychometric impairment in men breathing oxygen-helium at increased pressures". Royal Navy Personnel Research Committee, Underwater Physiology Subcommittee Report No. 251 (London).  
  3. ^ Zal'tsman, G. L. (1967). "Psychological principles of a sojourn of a human in conditions of raised pressure of the gaseous medium (in Russian, 1961)". English translation, Foreign Technology Division. AD655 360 (Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio).  
  4. ^ Brauer, R. W. (1968). "Seeking man's depth level". Ocean Industry (London) 3: 28–33.  
  5. ^ Brauer, R. W.; S. Dimov; X. Fructus; P. Fructus; A. Gosset; R. Naquet. (1968). "Syndrome neurologique et electrographique des hautes pressions". Rev Neurol (Paris) 121 (3): 264–5. PMID 5378824.  
  6. ^ Hunger Jr, W. L.; P. B. Bennett. (1974). "The causes, mechanisms and prevention of the high pressure nervous syndrome". Undersea Biomed. Res. 1 (1): 1–28. ISSN 0093-5387. OCLC 2068005. PMID 4619860. http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2661. Retrieved 2008-04-07.  
  7. ^ Bennett, P. B.; R. Coggin; M. McLeod. (1982). "Effect of compression rate on use of trimix to ameliorate HPNS in man to 686 m (2250 ft)". Undersea Biomed. Res. 9 (4): 335–51. ISSN 0093-5387. OCLC 2068005. PMID 7168098. http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2920. Retrieved 2008-04-07.  
  8. ^ Vigreux, J. (1970). "Contribution to the study of the neurological and mental reactions of the organism of the higher mammal to gaseous mixtures under pressure". MD Thesis (Toulouse University).  
  9. ^ Fife, W. P. (1979). "The use of Non-Explosive mixtures of hydrogen and oxygen for diving". Texas A&M University Sea Grant TAMU-SG-79-201.  
  10. ^ Rostain, J. C.; Gardette-Chauffour, M. C.; Lemaire, C.; Naquet, R. (1988). "Effects of a H2-He-O2 mixture on the HPNS up to 450 msw". Undersea Biomedical Research 15 (4): 257–70. ISSN 0093-5387. OCLC 2068005. PMID 3212843. http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2487. Retrieved 2008-04-07.  







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