Oxygen Window

  • Olaf Rusoke-Dierich


The oxygen window first was described by Momsen, Behnke, Thalmann, Van Liew and Sass in the mid-twentieth century. They picked up the already described phenomenon of the undersaturation of blood compared to air at ambient pressure by Krogh at the beginning of the twentieth century. Behnke originally described the oxygen window as the difference between arterial and venous oxygen pressure with its 60 mmHg [1]. Kot described the extended oxygen window (EOW) in 2015 [8]. Additionally to the gas tension difference of oxygen and carbon dioxide, he included the total carbon dioxide and water vapour to the oxygen window. In his concept, water vapour was included as it doesn’t participate in the development of gas bubbles, even if it joins the contents of gas bubbles as a consequence of temperature. As carbon dioxide is highly reactive and doesn’t contribute to bubble formation, he added it to the EOW as well. His estimated EOW was approximately 150 mmHg, which is close to the oxygen partial pressure of the air at ambient pressure (not to be confused with alveolar air).


  1. 1.
    Behnke AR. The isobaric (oxygen window) principle of decompression. In the new thrust seaward. Trans. Third Marine Tech. Soc. Conf. 5–7 June 1967, San Diego. Washington DC: Marine Tech. Soc.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Carreau A, Bouchra El HR, Matajuk A, Grillon C, Kieda C. Why is the partial oxygen pressure of human tissues a crucial parameter? Small molecules and hypoxia. J Cell Mol Med. 2011;15(6):1239–53.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kot J, Sicko Z, Doboszynski T. The extended oxygen window concept for programming saturation decompression using air and nitrox. Plos One. 2015.
  4. 4.
    Reinertsen RE, Flook V, Koteng S, Brubakk AO. Effect on oxygen tension and rate of pressure reduction during decompression on central gas bubbles. 1996. Accessed 4 July 2017.
  5. 5.
    Severinghaus JW. Simple, accurate equations for human blood O2 dissociation computations. J Appl Physiol Respirat Environ Exercise Physiol. 1979;46(3):599–602. Revisions, 1999, 2002, 2007.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Vann RD, Thalmann ED. Decompression physiology and practice. In: Bennett PB, Elliott DH, editors. The physiology and medicine of diving. London: Saunders; 1993. p. 376–432.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    West JB. Respiratory physiology. 5th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1995.Google Scholar

Suggested Reading

  1. Burton DA, Stokes K, Hall GM. Continuing education in Anaesthesia. Crit Care Pain. 2004;4(6):185–8.Google Scholar
  2. Geers C, Gros G. Carbon dioxide transport and carbonic anhydrases in blood and muscle. Physiol Rev. 2000;80(2):681–715.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Guyton AC. A Concept of negative interstitial pressure based on pressure in implanted capsules. Circ Res. 1963;XII:399–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kenney WL, Wilmore JH, Costil DL. Physiology of sport and exercise. 5th ed. Auflage: Human Kinetics; 2012.Google Scholar
  5. Kerem D, Melamed Y, Moran A. Alveolar PCO2 during rest and exercise in divers and non-divers breathing O2 at 1 ATA. Undersea Biomed Res. 1980;7:17–26.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Lambertson CJ. Effects of excessive pressures of oxygen, nitrogen, helium, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. In: Mountcastle VB, editor. Medical Physiology. Missouri: CV Mosby Co; 1980. p. 1901–46.Google Scholar
  7. Mummery HJ, Stolp BW, De Dear L, Doar PO, Natoli MJ, Bosa AE, Archibald JD, Hobbs GW, El-Moalem HE, Moon RE. Effects of age and exercise on physical dead space during stimulated dives at 2.8 ATA. J Appl Physiol. 2003;94:507–17.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Diving for science and technology. In: Noaa diving manual. Washington, DC; 1990.Google Scholar
  9. Petterson J, Glenny RW. Gas exchange and ventilation-perfusion relationship in the lung. Eur Respir J. 2014;44:1023–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Respiratory Physiology. Accessed 4 July 2017.
  11. Segadal K, Gulsvik A, Nicolaysen G. Respiratory changes with deep diving. Eur Respir J. 1990;3:101–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Sharpe AG. Solubility explained. Educ Chem. 1964;1(2):75–82.Google Scholar
  13. Simons M. The physiology of compressed gas diving. Accessed 02 May 2015.
  14. Stickland MK, Lovering AT. Exercise-induced intra pulmonary arteriovenous shunting and pulmonary gas exchange. Exrec Sport Sci Rev. 2006;34(3):99–106. American College of Sports Medicine.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olaf Rusoke-Dierich
    • 1
  1. 1.TownsvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations