Pre-dive vibration effect on bubble formation after a 30-m dive requiring a decompression stop

Aviat Space Environ Med. 2009 Dec;80(12):1044-8. doi: 10.3357/asem.2588.2010.


Introduction: The preconditioning of divers to reduce post-dive decompression sickness (DCS) has gained increased interest in diving medical research over the last few years. The beneficial effects of physical exercise, oxygen breathing, hyperbaric exposure, heat exposure, hyperhydration, or nitroglycerin administration before the dive are only a few examples of ongoing research. In this work, we investigated the effects of pre-dive whole-body vibration on post-dive bubble formation.

Methods: Following French Navy standard dive procedures, 14 healthy male military divers performed 2 identical dives 1 wk apart to 30 m of seawater (msw) for 30 min. One of the dives was randomly preceded by a 30-min whole-body vibration session (frequencies 35-40 Hz) 1 h before the dive. Post-dive bubbles were measured precordially 30, 60, and 90 min after the dive and were graded according to the Kissman Integrated Severity Score (KISS) protocol, with and without knee flexing. Arterial endothelial function was measured before and after vibration using flow mediated dilation (FMD) measurement.

Results: A significant reduction in bubble scores was observed after the "vibration" dive.

Conclusion: As there was no observed change in FMD after vibration, we do not believe a nitric oxide mediated mechanism is involved; rather, a mechanical dislodgement or enhanced lymphatic elimination of gas nuclei is hypothesized.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decompression Sickness / prevention & control*
  • Diving / physiology*
  • Embolism, Air / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult