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Thread: Was it hypercapnia?

  1. #1
    aka Scotty com1 will become famous soon enough com1 will become famous soon enough com1 will become famous soon enough com1's Avatar
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    Was it hypercapnia?



    Hi this Thursday I had a dive which ended with a hard and long lasting headache.


    Profile:

    Total dive time: 70 minutes with SP1.3 surface time 1 week & new sorb
    Minute 1 to 28 at exactly 13m depth
    Minute 28 to 37 at exactly 20m depth
    Minute 37 to 65 at exactly 13m depth

    At around minute 38 a slight
    headache started, and at the exit I was totally out of breathe with a strong headache.

    We were pretty fast on the way with around 20m/min (I am used to ~ 12m/min when carrying 3 stages) also the whole situation (kind of dive) was pretty new for me and I cannot deny that I was a bit exited.

    So 2 reasons which might have changed my way of optimal breathing and lead to essouflement and hypercapnia?
    Also I had the feeling that my neck seal was tighter than usually, maybe that lead to the symptoms?

    I switched to OC (EAN 50) when I felt the headache is getting stronger and getting out of breath too - but no change.

    When I reached the surface the surface the strong headache lasted for about an our and it was almost gone when I went to bed and was coming back for some hours the day after around noon time (but not that strong).

    So I am not sure what it was. Think I can exclude decompression issues.

    Also not sure about hypercapnia, all symptoms at the end of the dive to match, but what I learned is that symptoms are going away when breathing normal at the surface.





    So was it
    hypercapnia?
    How long do the symptoms of hypercapnia last when back at surface and breathing normal?


    Cheers – Scotty



    Lesson learned:

    When it is getting uncomfortable fast - slow down the diving speed, have a break, make sure everyone in the group understands.

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    Re: Was it hypercapnia?

    Sure sounds like Hypercapnia to me.

    When I had my incident, I had a headache and "weird" feeling for a couple of hours afterward. It's something that is hard to forget...

    Kevin.

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    Re: Was it hypercapnia?

    Sounds like a Co2 hit to me too. But offcourse there's other things to considder as well- migrain, tension headache, myofascial pain, small bubble embolism etc.

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    Re: Was it hypercapnia?

    Some years ago I used to get headaches after almost every dive, on OC. I thought it was the water temp or my hood was too tight...

    Then one day (back on the surface) my headache got worse and worse, and I felt a little dizzy, then I threw up. Headache lasted all night.

    At that point in my dive career I had never even heard of hypercapnia. Now I realize I had been skipbreathing the whole time, and causing mild co2 hits almost every dive! Not fun.

    With a fresh pack and your runtime I'd assume you over-breathed it.

    -Dan

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    Re: Was it hypercapnia?

    Sounds like a CO2 hit. You can get a pretty nasty and long lasting headache from just a few minutes of inadequate ventilations causing CO2 retention.

    Physiologically it causes a respiratory acidosis and cerebral vasodilitation. It happened to me at the very end of a dive working hard and I thought I might be able to reverse this by hyperventilating but.....did not work. I continued breathing deeply and faster than normal, but it still hung around. So I finally gave up and took 2 Ibuprofens. They took care of it in about 30 minutes.

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    Re: Was it hypercapnia?

    Quote Originally Posted by com1  View Original Post
    [COLOR=black]
    Also I had the feeling that my neck seal was tighter than usually, maybe that lead to the symptoms?
    I also would suspect CO2 however your comment about your neck seal cannot be ignored. You do not describe how tight, but restricted blood flow to and from your brain can exhibit all sorts of symptoms, many of which mimic CO2.
    Possibly a combination of the two created a "perfect storm" for a pounding CO2 headache.
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    Re: Was it hypercapnia?

    I also had a Co2 hit in nearly the exactly same way being new to rebreathers I wasn't sure either.
    It took me a while to figure out what had happend and after sufacing the headache lasted for an hour or two.
    I was having problems with cell warnings and alarms about 30 to 40 mins into the dive . for some reson one cell would seem to come alive and be way above the other two and it was bothering me this had been the same on the previous weekend and if I recalibrated inbetween dives it would settle down with no other problems, I realised a few days after that because of the problems and not wanting to do somthing wrong I ( I had tried flushing the loop with air and again with 02 at 6 meters ) I had sub consiously started to shallow breath or skip breath, this is why I got the hit, you have to push it round for the thing to work .
    I have since sent the cell back and AP changed it foc but it was a good lesson learnt for the scrubber to do its job you have to push it round .

    be safe Sullly

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    Re: Was it hypercapnia?

    Strongly suspect low level CO2 hit as well. Been there, done that. Just be thankful you didn't get into it far enough to get the infamous "dark nark".

    Dive safe,
    Ken

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    Re: Was it hypercapnia?

    new sorb
    Hi, I had the same thing in about 3 dives around May this year and couldn't figure out what was the reason.
    In the end I did...
    I haven't been diving much the last 2 years (10 dives a year max depth 38m). I 'knew' I still had new sorb in the can... but the sorb was overdue by sept 2008 and didn't think about this.
    Then I did a dive with 'new' sorb which will be overdue by 03/2012 and didn't have the symptoms..heavy breathing, slight headache..
    I know its crazy, but it happened to me..

    safe diving,

    Ivan

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