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Undersea Hyperb Med. 2013 Sep-Oct;40(5):403-10.

Negative pressure breathing increases cardiac output and nitrogen elimination in seated subjects.

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  • 1Center for Research and Education in Special Environments, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA.


During denitrogenation for rescue, crew members of an internally pressurized disabled submarine (DISSUB) must sit upright, which may hamper venous return, cardiac output and peripheral circulation. Since negative pressure breathing (NPB) might counteract this problem, denitrogenation was measured in sitting subjects performing NPB. Seven male subjects completed 125-minute nitrogen (N2) washouts breathing either 100% oxygen (O2) or a normoxic gas (21% O2 in argon) in control conditions and intermittent (I: inspirations only) or continuous (C) NPB at -10 or -15 cmH2O. N2 elimination was measured using a closed rebreathing system. INPB (intermittent) (-15cmH2O) and CNPB (continous breathing) (-10 and -15cmH2O) increased cardiac output (CO) 9% during both O2 and normoxic breathing. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were unaffected by the CO increase, suggesting a peripheral vasodilatation and enhanced tissue perfusion leading to increased N2 elimination. With the CO boost, N2 washout increased 6% breathing O2 at -15 cmH2O CNPB and INPB, while during normoxic breathing there were 6% and 12% increases due to CNBP, -10 and -15 respectively and 6% with -15cmH2O INPB; breathing 100% O2 yielding 5% to 15% less N2 washout than normoxic breathing. Negative pressure breathing during denitrogenation may facilitate decompression in divers and in crew members being rescued from a DISSUB.

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