Arteriovenous bubbles following cold water sport dives: relation to right-to-left shunting

Neurology. 2000 Dec 12;55(11):1741-3. doi: 10.1212/wnl.55.11.1741.


Neurologic injury subsequent to decompression from diving may be due to paradoxical arterialization of venous gas emboli. Of 40 divers who performed 53 open water dives after being tested for a patent foramen ovale (PFO), arterial gas emboli were detected in 7 of 13 dives, which resulted in venous bubbles. In five of these seven dives, there was evidence of a PFO by contrast transcranial Doppler sonography, indicating an increased risk of arterializing venous bubbles in divers with a PFO.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cold Temperature / adverse effects
  • Decompression Sickness*
  • Diving*
  • Embolism, Air / diagnostic imaging
  • Embolism, Air / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler