Diffusing capacity and spirometry following a 60-minute dive to 4.5 meters

Undersea Hyperb Med. Mar-Apr 2006;33(2):109-18.


The purpose of this study was to assess the contribution of SCUBA to the pulmonary effects of diving to 4.5 meters depth in healthy subjects using a randomized crossover control condition. Ten healthy divers performed two 60-minute 'dives' using SCUBA in a swimming pool. The non-immersed 1 ATA SCUBA control exposure took place at ambient pressure in the laboratory. Thirty minutes prior to, and 30 and 90 minutes post-exposure, FVC (forced vital capacity), FEV1.0 (forced expired volume), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), diffusing capacity (DL(co)), heart rate (HR) and temperature were measured. No significant differences were noted in HR, temperature or spirometry between the two conditions. A significant reduction in diffusing capacity occurred at 30 and 90 minutes after the pool dive (9.3% and 15.1%, respectively, p < 0.05). There was no concordant change in DL(co) following the non-immersed 1 ATA SCUBA control. Thus, a pool dive to 4.5 meters for 60 minutes causes a decrease in DL(co), without a change in spirometry, while breathing from SCUBA equipment without immersion causes no significant change in lung function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diving / physiology*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity / physiology*
  • Spirometry
  • Time Factors
  • Ventilators, Mechanical
  • Vital Capacity