Cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular risk assessment in professional divers

Int Marit Health. 2012;63(3):164-9.


Background: The professional diver's activity implies body cardiovascular stress. Little data on cardiovascular risk factors is available. Some studies report a high prevalence of tobacco consumption. The purpose of this study is to investigate the cardiovascular risk factors of professional divers and calculate the predicted 5-year risk and the predicted 10-year risk of an acute coronary event.

Materials and methods: In one medical centre, data on dives and cardiovascular risk factors were analysed on Epidata(®) software, by Pearson χ(2) test or by Fisher's exact test, by analysis of variance test or by Kruskal-Wallis test, and by Spearman correlation coefficient. Cardiovascular risk scores at 5 and 10 years were calculated using SCORE.

Results: A total 200 professional divers were included. Of these, 31% were smokers or had stopped smoking for less than 3 years; 40% had an abnormal body mass index; 50% had raised total cholesterol levels; 11% had an advanced age; 6.5% had high blood pressure; 81% had at least one risk factor; 66% had an alterable risk factor; 25.5% had a 5-year risk greater than that of the general population of the same age; 2.5% had a high cardiovascular risk at 10 years; and 34% were at intermediate risk.

Conclusions: The majority of divers had at least one cardiovascular risk factor. Cardiovascular risk scores were lower than that of the general population. However, some of this population is at high risk. One third of the divers had an intermediate risk, which should lead to the consideration of conducting additional biological examinations to better assess their risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Comorbidity
  • Diving / adverse effects
  • Diving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • France
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Young Adult