Publications

Selected scientific publications on diving medicine and physiology.

2012 Jan 1
Dive Computer Use in Recreational Diving: Insights from the DAN-DSL Database
Balestra C.

Data from the DAN Europe Diving Safety Laboratory (DSL) suggest that approximately 95% of recreational diving is carried out today using a dive computer. The most widely dived computers/algorithms, irrespective of brand, use the Bühlmann ZHL-16 or the Wienke RGBM algorithm, with roughly a 50/50 distribution across the DSL population. The vast majority of the 167 recorded decompression sickness (DCS) cases occurred without any significant violation of the respective algorithm’s limits, i.e., most occurred while using gradient factors that were well below the maximum allowed by the algorithm.

Read more

2012 Jan 1
P-1359 - The impact of foot reexology on sleep induction in patients suering from sleeping disorders
Véron R, Balestra C, Berlémont C, Lanquart JP & Jurysta F.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to test the impact of foot reflexology (FR) on sleep architecture in patients suffering from sleeping disorders. Aims: Try to improve sleep quality in patients with sleep disorders using the foot reflexology.

Read more

2011 Jun 15
Passive flooding of paranasal sinuses and middle ears as a method of equalisation in extreme breath-hold diving
Germonpré P, Balestra C, Musimu P.

Breath-hold diving is both a recreational activity, performed by thousands of enthusiasts in Europe, and a high-performance competitive sport. Several 'disciplines' exist, of which the 'no-limits' category is the most spectacular: using a specially designed heavy 'sled,' divers descend to extreme depths on a cable, and then reascend using an inflatable balloon, on a single breath. The current world record for un-assisted descent stands at more than 200 m of depth. Equalising air pressure in the paranasal sinuses and middle-ear cavities is a necessity during descent to avoid barotraumas. However, this requires active insufflations of precious air, which is thus unavailable in the pulmonary system. The authors describe a diver who, by training, is capable of allowing passive flooding of the sinuses and middle ear with (sea) water during descent, by suppressing protective (parasympathetic) reflexes during this process. Using this technique, he performed a series of extreme-depth breath-hold dives in June 2005, descending to 209 m of sea water on one breath of air.

Read more

2011 Jun 2
Passive flooding of paranasal sinuses and middle ears as a method of equalisation in extreme breath-hold diving
Germonpré P, Balestra C, Musimu P.

Breath-hold diving is both a recreational activity, performed by thousands of enthusiasts in Europe, and a high-performance competitive sport. Several 'disciplines' exist, of which the 'no-limits' category is the most spectacular: using a specially designed heavy 'sled,' divers descend to extreme depths on a cable, and then reascend using an inflatable balloon, on a single breath. The current world record for un-assisted descent stands at more than 200 m of depth. Equalising air pressure in the paranasal sinuses and middle-ear cavities is a necessity during descent to avoid barotraumas. However, this requires active insufflations of precious air, which is thus unavailable in the pulmonary system. The authors describe a diver who, by training, is capable of allowing passive flooding of the sinuses and middle ear with (sea) water during descent, by suppressing protective (parasympathetic) reflexes during this process. Using this technique, he performed a series of extreme-depth breath-hold dives in June 2005, descending to 209 m of sea water on one breath of air.

Read more

2011 Apr 10
Ultrasound lung "comets" increase after breath-hold diving
Lambrechts K, Germonpré P, Charbel B, Cialoni D, Musimu P, Sponsiello N, Marroni A, Pastouret F, Balestra C.

The purpose of the study was to analyze the ultrasound lung comets (ULCs) variation, which are a sign of extra-vascular lung water. Forty-two healthy individuals performed breath-hold diving in different conditions: dynamic surface apnea; deep variable-weight apnea and shallow, face immersed without effort (static maximal and non-maximal). The number of ULCs was evaluated by means of an ultrasound scan of the chest, before and after breath-hold diving sessions. The ULC score increased significantly from baseline after dynamic surface apnea (p = 0.0068), after deep breath-hold sessions (p = 0.0018), and after static maximal apnea (p = 0.031). There was no statistically significant difference between the average increase of ULC scores after dynamic surface apnea and deep breath-hold diving. We, therefore, postulate that extravascular lung water accumulation may be due to other factors than (deep) immersion alone, because it occurs during dynamic surface apnea as well. Three mechanisms may be responsible for this. First, the immersion-induced hydrostatic pressure gradient applied on the body causes a shift of peripheral venous blood towards the thorax. Second, the blood pooling effect found during the diving response Redistributes blood to the pulmonary vascular bed. Third, it is possible that the intense involuntary diaphragmatic contractions occurring during the "struggle phase" of the breath-hold can also produce a blood shift from the pulmonary capillaries to the pulmonary alveoli. A combination of these factors may explain the observed increase in ULC scores in deep, shallow maximal and shallow dynamic apneas, whereas shallow non-maximal apneas seem to be not "ULC provoking".

Read more