Hyperbaric Effects on Heart Rate in Professional SCUBA Divers in Thermal Water
Keywords:Bradycardia, Dive response, Thermoregulation, Diving physiology, Organ perfusion, Venous return
Background: Diving in SCUBA modality modifies human physiology in many ways. These modifications have been studied since Paul Bert work in 1878. This area of research is very sensible to technological development. Actually, it is possible to record heart rate (HR) continuously while diving. The study of HR change in SCUBA diving is the objective of the present paper. Methods: HR has been recorded in 11 subjects while SCUBA diving in thermal water at constant temperature of 34 °C in the deepest Italian pool at Montegrotto (Padova, Italy). Three depths were investigated: -20, -30 and -40 metres. The HR has been recorded with a Galileo SOL diving computer. Dive was subdivided in three phases: descent (DSC), steady on depth (STD), post dive (RSF). HR was averaged from the values of each temporal phase. Moreover, from HR regression in DSC and STD, HR slope and intercept were assessed. Results: Intercept and slope decrease with depth for all three depths for the descent and steady on depth phases with different rate. A significant difference was found between the slope during STD between -20 and -40 m (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Present results emphasized two different HR physiological adjustments. Firstly, during the DSC a rapid HR decrease is recognised, secondly, at STD, the blood redistribution requires another physiological adjustment. This latter is depth dependent because cardiac dynamic. Present data highlighted the important cardiovascular stress need to counteract the diving activity.
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