Doppler recordings after diving to depth of 30 meters at high altitude of 4,919 meters (16,138 feet) during the Tilicho Lake Expedition 2007

Undersea Hyperb Med. Nov-Dec 2014;41(6):515-9.


When going to high altitude (higher than 2,400 meters above mean sea level [about 8,200 feet]), human physiology is strongly affected by changes in atmospheric conditions, including decreased ambient pressure and hypobaric hypoxia, which can lead to severe hypoxemia, brain and/or pulmonary edema, negative changes in body and blood composition, as well as disturbances in regional microcirculation. When adding other factors, such as dehydration, physical exercise and exposure to low temperature, it is likely that nitrogen desaturation after diving at such environmental conditions is far from optimal, There are only single reports on diving at high alti-tudes. In 2007 a Polish team of climbers and divers participated in the Tilicho Lake and Peak Expedition to the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal. During this expedition, four divers conducted six dives in the Tilicho Lake at altitude of 4,919 meters above mean sea level equivalent (16,138 feet) to a maximum depth of 15 meters of fresh water (mfw) (equivalent to 28 mfw at sea level by the Cross Correction method) and 30 mfw (equivalent to 57 mfw at sea level "by Cross correction). Decompression debt was calculated using Cross Correction with some additional safety add-ons. Precordial Doppler recordings were taken every 15 minutes until 90 minutes after surfacing. No signs or symptoms of decompression sickness were observed after diving but in one diver, very high bubble grade Doppler signals were recorded. It can be concluded that diving at high altitude should be accompanied by additional safety precautions as well as taking into account personal sensitivity for such conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Altitude*
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Decompression / methods
  • Decompression Sickness / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diving / physiology*
  • Expeditions*
  • Humans
  • Lakes*
  • Nepal
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography