The cardiovascular system and diving risk

Undersea Hyperb Med. Jul-Aug 2011;38(4):261-9.


Recreational scuba diving is a sport that requires a certain physical capacity, in addition to consideration of the environmental stresses produced by increased pressure, low temperature and inert gas kinetics in tissues of the body. Factors that may influence ability to dive safely include age, physical conditioning, tolerance of cold, ability to compensate for central fluid shifts induced by water immersion, and ability to manage exercise demands when heart disease might compromise exercise capacity. Patients with coronary heart disease, valvular heart disease, congenital heart disease and cardiac arrhythmias are capable of diving, but consideration must be given to the environmental factors that might interact with the cardiac disorder. Understanding of the interaction of the diving environment with various cardiac disorders is essential to providing a safe diving environment to individual divers with known heart disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Body Fluid Compartments / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cause of Death
  • Cold Temperature / adverse effects
  • Demography
  • Diving / adverse effects
  • Diving / physiology*
  • Diving / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / mortality
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Immersion / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Noble Gases / pharmacokinetics
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Pressure / adverse effects
  • Recreation
  • Safety
  • Sex Distribution


  • Noble Gases