Mechanical impedance of the respiratory tract in divers before and after simulated deep dives.

Research paper by Birger B Neubauer, Till S TS Mutzbauer, Niklas N Struck, Hans-Jürgen HJ Smith, Kay K Tetzlaff

Indexed on: 21 Sep '05Published on: 21 Sep '05Published in: European Journal of Applied Physiology


Previous studies have inconsistently shown changes in expiratory flows and volumes as well as diffusion capacity of the lungs after single dives and several diving related occupational conditions were considered as possible underlying factors. In this study mechanical impedance of the airways was measured before and after simulated dives to non-invasively determine whether there is evidence for lung function impairment due to hyperbaric exposure. Thirty-three healthy male divers employing air self-contained underwater breathing apparatus were randomly assigned to dry and wet chamber dives in a cross-over design to 600 kPa ambient pressure (total duration 43 min, bottom time 15 min, water temperature 24 degrees C). Immediately before and after diving, oscillometric parameters-e. g. resistance and reactance of the respiratory tract-were measured at defined frequencies (5, 20 Hz). Spirometry was carried out as well (FVC, FEV(1), MEF 25-75). No significant changes between post-exposure values and baseline values were detected by respiratory impedance and spirometry. Diving in accordance to diving regulations and without excessive workload is not a source for acute obstructive lung function changes as the obtained oscillometric data suggested. Moreover this study could not confirm changes in spirometry after simulated diving exposure.