The Dewey Monitor: Pulse Oximetry can Warn of Hypoxia in an Immersed Rebreather Diver in Multiple Scenarios.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Divers who wish to prolong their time underwater while carrying less equipment often use devices called rebreathers, which recycle the gas expired after each breath instead of discarding it as bubbles. However, rebreathers' need to replace oxygen used by breathing creates a failure mechanism that can and frequently does lead to hypoxia, loss of consciousness, and death. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a pulse oximeter could provide a useful amount of warning time to a diver with a rebreather after failure of the oxygen addition mechanism. Twenty-eight volunteer human subjects breathed on a mixed-gas rebreather in which the oxygen addition system had been disabled. The subjects were immersed in water in four separate environmental scenarios, including cold and warm water, and monitored using pulse oximeters placed at multiple locations. Pulse oximeters placed on the forehead and clipped on the nasal ala provided a mean of 32 s (±10 s SD) of warning time to divers with falling oxygen levels, prior to risk of loss of consciousness. These devices, if configured for underwater use, could provide a practical and inexpensive alarm system to warn of impending loss of consciousness in a manner that is redundant to the rebreather.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lance, RM; Natoli, MJ; Di Pumpo, F; Beck, TP; Gatrell, A; Brown, GJ; Schocken, D; Moon, RE

Published Date

  • February 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 222 - 232

PubMed ID

  • 35034226

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8760867

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-9686

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10439-022-02919-y


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States