2014 dec 1
Preconditioning as a tool to improve diving safety
Vascular gas bubbles are considered the principal element in decompression sickness (DCS) development. Traditionally these bubbles were called VGE (venous gas emboli), however scientific knowledge indicates that similar bubbles may also be present in the arterial circulation, therefore we propose to use “VGE” for “Vascular Gas Emboli”, and we will do so throughout the text. Reduction of VGE production represents an interesting endpoint to decrease decompression stress and DCS risk. Here we will discuss state of the art pre-dive techniques and approaches, commonly known as preconditioning, used to reduce post-dive VGE load and decompression stress. Evidence based approaches clearly show that some types of preconditioning are more potent in VGE reduction, some indecompression stress reduction and there are some with a positive impact on both. Nevertheless, further research is required to investigate the mechanisms underlying these positive effects.