DAN Medical Research
Project Dive Exploration (Statistical Analysis of the Risks of Decompression Sickness): Project Overview

Project Dive Exploration (PDE) profiles - essentially, road maps of each dive recorded on dive computers - are collected by volunteers and are delivered to DAN via the Internet. The data is then analyzed to help DAN scientists understand the relationship of the risk of decompression illness (DCI) to myriad physical, medical, and behavioral factors. The results of this study are likely to form the basis of future dive table and dive computer models.

PDE has multiple objectives, including:

  • Collecting real-time depth/time profiles for analysis;
  • Documenting the condition of the diver 48 hours after the end of the dive series;
  • Documenting any health changes in the diver, whether related to diving or not;
  • Investigating the relationship between diving and health effects by using statistical analysis and modeling;
  • Developing a flexible, low-risk decompression procedures for multilevel / multiday repetitive diving; and
  • Studying the effects of flying after diving.


Divers, dive operators and recompression chamber personnel worldwide are being asked to collect data using the Diving Data System. DAN collects more than 20,000 dives per year for PDE. The PDE data collection methodology and software were developed from 1995-97.

Formal data collection began in January 1999, and 6,411 dive series involving 50,150 dives were collected from 1998-2002, with 28 recompressions. The number of dives collected continue to increase every year, and numerous subprojects and papers have stemmed from the initial results of this project.


PDE will be conducted wherever diving occurs throughout the world -- resorts, retail stores, charter boats and liveaboards.

Certified divers can participate in PDE individually by sending dive profiles that were recorded using compatible, downloadable dive computers. Divers are responsible for filling out forms, uploading their dive computer, completing the 48-Hour Report Form, and submitting data to DAN.

Signs and symptoms and medical outcomes of PDE dives are reported in the: (a) Daily Dive Log; (b) 48-Hour Report; (c) Diving Injury Report Form; and (d) DAN Medical Services Emergency Call database. The diver records symptoms or relevant events at the end of each dive day in the Daily Dive Log.

The 48-Hour Report is completed at 48 hours after the last dive or altitude exposure and submitted to DAN by completing the online form or downloading the form and mailing it to DAN. The 48-Hour Report lists signs or symptoms (if noted), altitude exposure (if any), and recompression therapy (if given). A diver must submit a 48-hour report to be included in the analytical database. If recompression is reported, the treating chamber is contacted for medical documentation. Additional case details are often available in the Medical Services Emergency Call database. All potential DCS cases are tested against exclusionary diagnostic criteria and are classified as AGE, DCS, or neither.

All data provided is privileged scientific/medical information. The diver's identity will not be released to anyone without the diver's permission.

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