Selected scientific publications on diving medicine and physiology.

2017 Jun 1
ECHM Consensus Conference and levels of evidence - Reply
Mathieu D., Marroni A., Kot J.

Dr Sherlock asks for clarification on the approach adopted by the European Committee on Hyperbaric Medicine (ECHM) to assessing evidence for establishing indications for hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT). Firstly, regardless of the strict process of editing and proof-reading of tables included in the above-mentioned publication, we received comments from some readers that identified imperfect layout of Table 1 and incorrect layout of Table 2 which significantly changed the conclusions to be drawn from them. This concerned both the details of the methodology used and description of the ECHM recommendations and associated levels of evidence. Therefore, those tables are republished in their correct forms in this issue, hoping that this will explain at least some of the doubts and misunderstandings.

Read more

2017 May 21
Beneficial effect of enriched air nitrox on bubble formation during scuba diving. An open-water study
Brebeck AK., Deussen A., Range U., Balestra C., Cleveland S., Schipke JD.

Bubble formation during scuba diving might induce decompression sickness. This prospective randomised and double-blind study included 108 advanced recreational divers (38 females). Fifty-four pairs of divers, 1 breathing air and the other breathing nitrox28 undertook a standardised dive (24 ± 1 msw; 62 ± 5min) in the Red Sea. Venous gas bubbles were counted (Doppler) 30-<45 min (early) and 45-60 min (late) post-dive at jugular, subclavian and femoral sites. Only 7% (air) vs. 11% (air28®) (n.s.) were bubble-free after a dive. Independent of sampling time and breathing gas, there were more bubbles in the jugular than in the femoral vein. More bubbles were counted in the air-group than in the air28-group (pooled vein: early: 1845 vs. 948; P = 0.047, late: 1817 vs. 953; P = 0.088). The number of bubbles was sex-dependent. Lastly, 29% of female air divers but only 14% of male divers were bubble-free (P = 0.058). Air28® helps to reduce venous gas emboli in recreational divers. The bubble number depended on the breathing gas, sampling site and sex. Thus, both exact reporting the dive and in particular standardising sampling characteristics seem mandatory to compare results from different studies to further investigate the hitherto incoherent relation between inert gas bubbles and DCS.

Read more

2017 May 1
Objective vs. Subjective Evaluation of Cognitive Performance During 0.4-MPa Dives Breathing Air or Nitrox
Germonpré P., Balestra C., Hemelryck W., Buzzacott P., Lafère P.

BACKGROUND: Divers try to limit risks associated with their sport, for instance by breathing enriched air nitrox (EANx) instead of air. This double blinded, randomized trial was designed to see if the use of EANx could effectively improve cognitive performance while diving. METHODS: Eight volunteers performed two no-decompression dry dives breathing air or EANx for 20 min at 0.4 MPa. Cognitive functions were assessed with a computerized test battery, including MathProc and Ptrail. Measurements were taken before the dive, upon arrival and after 15 min at depth, upon surfacing, and at 30 min postdive. After each dive subjects were asked to identify the gas they had just breathed.

Read more

2017 Apr 1
Diving deeper into SCUBA Science
Balestra C.

The editors of and authors of this book are a cadre of scientists and physicians with broad experience and knowledge of diving physiology and decompression theory. As is often the case, it requires a group effort to succeed in advancing practical knowledge. The colloquialism "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" is often true and the PHYPODE Reasearch Group epitomizes this concept. By logically grouping the various elements of diving science and medicine with provocative "food for thought" sections, the text offers valuable lessons to those interested in the current state of diving. Despite nearly 170 years of reasearch, the fundamenal nature of decompression stress remains elusive. As is well outlined in this book, great advances have been made to the practical elements allowing for safe diving. Nonetheless, there are glaring voids of knowledge related to the nature of bubble nucleation, its consequences and methods to ameliorate risk. The synergy exhibited in this text not only provides a foundation for what is known, it offers a glimpse of where research is taking us. - Professor Stephen R. Thom, Dept. of Emergency Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Read more

2017 Mar 1
Tenth European Consensus Conference on Hyperbaric Medicine: recommendations for accepted and non-accepted clinical indications and practice of hyperbaric oxygen treatment
Mathieu D, Marroni A, Kot J.

The tenth European Consensus Conference on Hyperbaric Medicine took place in April 2016, attended by a large delegation of experts from Europe and elsewhere. The focus of the meeting was the revision of the European Committee on Hyperbaric Medicine (ECHM) list of accepted indications for hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT), based on a thorough review of the best available research and evidence-based medicine (EBM).

Read more