Richard D. Vann

Richard D. Vann

Assistant Professor Emeritus in Anesthesiology

Dr. Vann's research interests encompass the physiology, medicine, and epidemiology of special respiratory environments and the equipment and procedures to allow safe human exposures. Relevant environments include diving, compressed air work, mountaineering, and aerospace. The pressure chambers in Dr. Vann's laboratory can simulate high altitude or high pressure under dry or immersed conditions while controlling inspired oxygen, carbon dioxide, inert gas, and total pressure to desired levels. Measurement capabilities include pulmonary function, arterial blood gases, and nitrogen uptake or elimination. Specific investigations have included: (1) environmental and physiological factors affecting cerebral blood flow, cerebral oxygenation, and CNS oxygen toxicity; (2) nitrogen elimination during oxygen breathing; (3) effect of hypercapnia on arterial oxygen saturation and cerebral oxygenation during hypoxia; (4) effects of hyperventilation and oxygen breathing on breath-hold; (5) mechanisms and locations of in vitro and in vivo bubble formation and their relation to decompression sickness; (6) physiological damage resulting from in situ bubbles and from bubbles associated with implanted biomaterials. Respiratory physiology studies have included optimizing oxygen delivery equipment for sea level and altitude. Dr. Vann has a particular interest in decompression sickness. Human decompression studies have included: (1) factors affecting decompression sickness in astronauts during extravehicular activity in space; (2) surface interval oxygen and in-water oxygen repetitive dive tables; (3) determination of safe surface intervals before flying after diving; (4) use of dive computers to record recreational dive profile and medical outcome data for the Divers Alert Network; (5) development of statistical models of decompression sickness and acute mountain sickness. Dr. Vann's current active projects include probabilistic modeling of decompression sickness and the analysis of diving injury and fatality data (including open-circuit, rebreathers, and cave diving) with the Divers Alert Network.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Assistant Professor Emeritus in Anesthesiology
  • Assistant Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 0585 Clin Res II, Bldg Cr-ii, Basement White Zone, Durham, NC 27710
  • Office Phone: (919) 684-3305
  • Email Address: richard.vann@duke.edu

Education

  • Ph.D. Duke University, 1976

Courses Taught

  • ANESTH 445C: PHYSIOLOGY & MEDICINE OF EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS
  • CELLBIO 720: Physiology and Medicine of Extreme Environments

Representative Publications

  • Vann, RD; Pollock, NW; Freiberger, JJ; Natoli, MJ; Denoble, PJ; Pieper, CF, Influence of bottom time on preflight surface intervals before flying after diving., Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, vol 34 no. 3 (2007), pp. 211-220 [abs].
  • Longphre, JM; Denoble, PJ; Moon, RE; Vann, RD; Freiberger, JJ, First aid normobaric oxygen for the treatment of recreational diving injuries., Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, vol 34 no. 1 (2007), pp. 43-49 [abs].
  • Vann, RD; Pollock, NW; Pieper, CF; Murdoch, DR; Muza, SR; Natoli, MJ; Wang, LY, Statistical models of acute mountain sickness., High Altitude Medicine & Biology, vol 6 no. 1 (2005), pp. 32-42 [10.1089/ham.2005.6.32] [abs].
  • Freiberger, JJ; Lyman, SJ; Denoble, PJ; Pieper, CF; Vann, RD, Consensus factors used by experts in the diagnosis of decompression illness., Aviation, space, and environmental medicine, vol 75 no. 12 (2004), pp. 1023-1028 [abs].
  • Vann, RD; Gerth, WA; Denoble, PJ; Pieper, CF; Thalmann, ED, Experimental trials to assess the risks of decompression sickness in flying after diving., Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, vol 31 no. 4 (2004), pp. 431-444 [abs].
  • Dunford, RG; Vann, RD; Gerth, WA; Pieper, CF; Huggins, K; Wacholtz, C; Bennett, PB, The incidence of venous gas emboli in recreational diving., Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, vol 29 no. 4 (2002), pp. 247-259 [abs].