Scientific article

Electrocardiogram during deep breath-hold dives by elite divers

Published inUndersea biomedical research, vol. 18, no. 2, p. 81-91
Publication date1991

A portable ECG recorder was used during breath-hold dives at sea by 3 elite divers to 65 and 45 m. ECG was also recorded during nonimmersed maximal breath holds in the divers and 8 control subjects. Heart rate in the dives decreased rapidly to 20-24 beats.min(-1). During the surface experiments in the divers, bradycardia was much slower in onset, reaching 28-36 beats.min(-1) at the end of the breath holds. The divers showed a more consistent bradycardial response than the controls. The difference in temporal pattern of bradycardia, in the dives and in the breath holds by the divers, may have been due to face immersion in cold water, chest compression, and/or redistribution of blood into the chest with concomitant stimulation of cardiac and other mechanoreceptors. Arrhythmias, mostly supraventricular and ventricular premature complexes, were observed coincidently with the lowest heart rates, presumably reflecting a high vagal tone. In addition, cardiac distention at depth might have made the heart more prone to arrhythmias, while in the surface breath holds hypoxia might have accounted for a similar effect.

  • Adult
  • Bradycardia/physiopathology
  • Diving
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hyperventilation/physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiration
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
FERRIGNO, M. et al. Electrocardiogram during deep breath-hold dives by elite divers. In: Undersea biomedical research, 1991, vol. 18, n° 2, p. 81–91.
Updates (1)
ISSN of the journal0093-5387

Technical informations

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