Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence of cerebral white matter changes on MR imaging in healthy elderly compressed air divers with a long diving history in comparison with control subjects who have never dived.
Material and methods: The investigation employed 59 experienced elderly divers and 48 control subjects matched for age, body mass index, alcohol and smoking history. MR studies included a fluid attenuated inversion recovery sequence and T1- and T2-weighted pre- and postcontrast images in axial orientation of the whole brain to localize white matter changes.
Results: MR images did not show any morphologic abnormalities in the brains of divers. Both groups - divers and controls - did not differ significantly with respect to white matter changes of the brain.
Conclusion: No increased prevalence of cerebral white matter changes in compressed air divers compared with a healthy worker sample of similar age were found. Thus, extensive compressed air diving may not necessarily be related to radiological changes on MR.