Screening of children with arrhythmias for arrhythmia development during diving and swimming--face immersion as a substitute for diving and exercise stress testing as a substitute for swimming

Jpn Circ J. 1992 Sep;56(9):881-90. doi: 10.1253/jcj.56.881.


We compared face immersion and exercise stress testing by diving and swimming as screening methods for arrhythmias induced by immersion in water. The subjects were 64 children with various arrhythmias who were tested using 5 methods: diving, swimming, face immersion in 25 degrees C water, face immersion in 6 degrees C water, and a treadmill exercise test. Significant arrhythmias occurred during diving or swimming in 51 children, with 44 developing arrhythmias while diving. Both tachyarrhythmias and bradyarrhythmias were seen during diving, but 17 children who also showed significant arrhythmias while swimming mostly had tachyarrhythmias. A comparison with the incidence of arrhythmias produced by diving showed that face immersion in cold water had a sensitivity of 88.6%, a specificity of 85.0%, a predictive value of 92.9%, and an accuracy of 87.5%. Arrhythmias were alleviated in 12.5%, unchanged in 79.7%, and aggravated in 7.8% of the subjects. Face immersion thus appeared to be a useful and adequate screening substitute for diving. Exercise testing was also compared with swimming (sensitivity, 52.9%; specificity, 100%; predictive value, 100%; and accuracy, 87.5%). Arrhythmias were alleviated in 12.5% and unchanged in 87.5% of patients. Although exercise testing produced many false-negatives, all of the severe arrhythmias were reproduced.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnosis*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Child
  • Diving / adverse effects*
  • Exercise Test
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immersion / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Swimming*