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Diving Hyperb Med. 2011 Jun;41(2):97-100.

Preliminary observations on the effect of hypoxic and hyperbaric stress on pulmonary gas exchange in breath-hold divers.

Author information

1
Extreme Center, Scuola Superiore, Sant'Anna and National Research Council-Tuscany Region "Gabriele Monasterio" Foundation, Pisa, Italy.

Abstract

AIM:

To evaluate pulmonary alveolar-capillary membrane integrity and ventilation/perfusion mismatch after breath-hold diving.

METHODS:

Pulmonary diffusing capacity to carbon monoxide (DLCO) and nitric oxide (DLNO), haemoglobin (Hb) and haematocrit (Hct) were measured in six elite divers before and at 2, 10 and 25 minutes after a maximal breath-hold dive to a depth of 10 metres' sea water.

RESULTS:

Compared to pre-dive, DLCO showed a slight increase at 2 minutes in five subjects and a tendency to decrease at 25 minutes (P < 0.001) in all subjects. DLNO showed an increase at 10 minutes in three divers and a slight decrease at 25 minutes in five subjects. There was a small but significant (P < 0.001) increase in Hb and Hct at 2 minutes, possibly affecting the DLCO measurements.

CONCLUSIONS:

An early but transient increase in DLCO in five divers may reflect the central shift in blood volume during a breath-hold dive. The late parallel decrease in DLCO and DLNO likely reflects alveolar-capillary distress (interstitial oedema). The DLNO increase in three subjects at 10 minutes may suggest ventilation/perfusion mismatch.

PMID:
21848113
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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