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Sports Med Open. 2017 Oct 3;3(1):35. doi: 10.1186/s40798-017-0104-1.

Observational study of potential risk factors of immersion pulmonary edema in healthy divers: exercise intensity is the main contributor.

Author information

1
UMR MD2, Dysoxie-Suractivité, Aix-Marseille Université et Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées (IRBA), Faculté de Médecine Nord, Marseille, France. alain.boussuges@univ-amu.fr.
2
UMR MD2, Dysoxie-Suractivité, Aix-Marseille Université et Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées (IRBA), Faculté de Médecine Nord, Marseille, France.
3
Altrabio, Lyon, SA, France.
4
Institut National de Plongée Professionnelle, Port de la Pointe Rouge, Marseille, France.
5
Laboratoire HandiBio EA 4322, Université de Toulon, La Garde, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The risk factors of pulmonary edema induced by diving in healthy subjects are not well known. The aim of the present study was to assess the parameters contributing to the increase in extravascular lung water after diving.

METHODS:

This study was carried out in a professional diving institute. All divers participating in the teaching program from June 2012 to June 2014 were included in the study. Extravascular lung water was assessed using the detection of ultrasound lung comets (ULC) by chest ultrasonography. Clinical parameters and dive profiles were recorded using a questionnaire and a dive computer.

RESULTS:

One-hundred six divers were investigated after 263 dives. They used an open-circuit umbilical supplying compressed gas diving apparatus in 202 cases and a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus in 61 cases. A generalized linear mixed model analysis was performed which demonstrated that the dive induced a significant increase in ULC score (incidence rate ratio: 3.16). It also identified that the predictive variable of increased extravascular lung water after the dive was the exercise intensity at depth (z = 3.99, p < 0.0001). The other parameters studied such as the water temperature, dive profile, hyperoxic exposure, or anthropometric data were not associated with the increase in extravascular lung water after the dive.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this study, the exercise intensity was the main contributor to the increase in extravascular lung water in healthy divers. To improve the prevention of immersion pulmonary edema, the exercise intensity experienced during the dive should thus be adapted to the aerobic fitness level of the divers.

KEYWORDS:

Chest ultrasonography; Diving medicine; Pulmonary edema; Ultrasound

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