Selected scientific publications on diving medicine and physiology.

2014 Mar 1
The use of portable 2D echocardiography and 'frame-based' bubble counting as a tool to evaluate diving decompression stress
Germonpré P, Papadopoulou V, Hemelryck W, Obeid G, Lafère P, Eckersley RJ, Tang MX, Balestra C.

INTRODUCTION: 'Decompression stress' is commonly evaluated by scoring circulating bubble numbers post dive using Doppler or cardiac echography. This information may be used to develop safer decompression algorithms, assuming that the lower the numbers of venous gas emboli (VGE) observed post dive, the lower the statistical risk of decompression sickness (DCS). Current echocardiographic evaluation of VGE, using the Eftedal and Brubakk method, has some disadvantages as it is less well suited for large-scale evaluation of recreational diving profiles. We propose and validate a new 'frame-based' VGE-counting method which offers a continuous scale of measurement...

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2014 Feb 1
Bubble stream reveals functionality of the right-to-left shunt: detection of a potential source for air embolism
Parlak IB, Egi SM, Ademoglu A, Germonpré P, Esen OB, Marroni A, Balestra C.

The existence of a right-to-left shunt may increase the likelihood of micro-embolism by allowing a flux of bubbles under hyperbaric conditions. The aim of the study was to measure the relationship between these shunts and bubbles in 10 consecutive subjects using trans-thoracic and trans-esophageal echocardiography...

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2013 Dec 3
Dark chocolate reduces endothelial dysfunction after successive breath-hold dives in cool water
Theunissen S, Schumacker J, Guerrero F, Tillmans F, Boutros A, Lambrechts K, Mazur A, Pieri M, Germonpré P, Balestra C.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to observe the effects of dark chocolate on endothelial function after a series of successive apnea dives in non-thermoneutral water...

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2013 Oct 10
EPO modulation in a 14-days undersea scuba dive
Revelli L, Vagnoni S, D'Amore A, Di Stasio E, Lombardi CP, Storti G, Proietti R, Balestra C, Ricerca BM

Erythropoiesis is affected during deep saturation dives. The mechanism should be related to a downregulation of serum Erythropoietin (s-EPO) concentration or to a toxic effect of the hyperbaric hyperoxia. We evaluated s-EPO and other haematological parameters in 6 scuba divers before, during and after a 14-days guinness saturation dive (8-10 m). Athletes were breathing air at 1.8-2 ATA, under the control of a team of physicians. Serum parameters were measured before diving (T0) and: 7 days (T1), 14 days (T2) after the beginning of the dive and 2 h (T3) and 24 h (T4) after resurfacing. Hgb, and many other haematological parameters did not change whereas Ht, s-EPO, the ratio between s-EPO predicted and that observed and reticulocytes (absolute, percent) declined progressively from T0 to T3. At T4 a significant rise in s-EPO was observed. Hgb did not vary but erythropoiesis seemed to be affected as s-EPO and reticulocyte counts showed. All these changes were statistically significant. The experiment, conducted in realistic conditions of dive length, oxygen concentration and pressure, allows us to formulate some hypotheses about the role of prolonged hyperbarism on erythropoiesis. The s-EPO rise, 24 h after resurfacing, is clearly documented and related to the "Normobaric Oxygen Paradox". This evidence suggests interesting hypotheses for new clinical applications such as modulation of s-EPO production and Hgb content triggered by appropriate O₂ administration in pre-surgical patients or in some anemic disease.

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2013 Sep 1
Functional comparison between critical flicker fusion frequency and simple cognitive tests in subjects breathing air or oxygen in normobaria
Hemelryck W, Rozloznik M, Germonpré P, Balestra C, Lafère P.

Measurement of inert gas narcosis and its degree is difficult during operational circumstances, hence the need for a reliable, reproducible and adaptable tool. Although being an indirect measure of brain function, if reliable, critical flicker fusion frequency (CFFF) could address this need and be used for longitudinal studies on cortical arousal in humans...

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