Pulmonary function of a firemen-diver population: a longitudinal study

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1994;69(5):456-60. doi: 10.1007/BF00865412.


Non smoking, male professional firemen-divers (n = 20) underwent two pulmonary function tests (PFT) separated by 8-9 years. Measured data were compared to European Coal Steel Community recommended reference values to permit cross-sectional and then longitudinal studies. Higher vital capacity (VC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1; both P < 0.001), and lower residual volume (P < 0.01) were observed in both PFT. Longitudinal analysis showed a smaller VC reduction than FEV1 reduction, leading to a FEV1/VC percentage decrease with time. Maximal mid expiratory flow (MMEF) and MMEF/VC changes during this 9-year period showed an unusually pronounced decrease, suggesting possible chronic effects of diving on small airways. Thus, it is suggested from our observations that a hyperbaric stimulus compensates in part for the effects of aging on VC and that obstructive disease could occur in subjects with long diving experience.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Diving
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Male
  • Plethysmography, Whole Body
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Time Factors


  • Carbon Monoxide