Respiratory effects of a single dive to 50 meters in sport divers with asymptomatic respiratory atopy

Int J Sports Med. 2001 Feb;22(2):85-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2001-11336.


Increasing popularity of sports diving makes it likely that subjects with allergic respiratory diseases will be involved in diving with self contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba). The present study evaluated the effects of a single scuba-dive on pulmonary function in subjects with respiratory atopy. Specific airways conductance (sGaw), residual volume (RV), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1), mid expiratory flow at 50% of FVC (MEF50), and transfer factor for carbon monoxide (TLCO) were measured in 9 sport divers with a history of hay fever and 9 matched healthy sport divers (control) before, 3 hours and 24 hours after a wet hyperbaric chamber dive to a depth of 50 m. Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) was assessed by methacholine challenge 4 weeks after the dive. Atopic subjects and controls did not differ with respect to anthropometric data, diving experience, and predive lung function. A 3% reduction in FVC was found 24h after the dive (p < 0.05) in both groups, whereas sGaw decreased by 15% 24 h after the dive (p < 0.05) in the subjects with respiratory atopy only. Postdive changes in RV, FEV1, MEF50, and TLCO did not reach level of statistical significance. AHR was obtained in 8/9 subjects with respiratory atopy. We conclude that subjects with atopic sensitization and asymptomatic AHR may be more susceptible to effects of diving on pulmonary function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance
  • Asthma / complications
  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents
  • Diving / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / complications*
  • Male
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / complications*


  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents
  • Methacholine Chloride