Scuba-Dive-Related Changes in Heart Rate in Children

in Pediatric Exercise Science

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Bernd E. WinklerUniversity of Ulm

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Kay TetzlaffUniversity of Tuebingen

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Claus-Martin MuthUniversity of Ulm

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Klaus PaulatUniversity of Applied Sciences

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Helge HebestreitUniversity of Wuerzburg

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The purpose of this study was to monitor heart rate (HR) and rhythm during open water SCUBA dives. Nine children performed 25-min open water SCUBA dives to 8 m depth. Before, during and after these dives, ECG was recorded. Compared with predive heart rate, heart rate declined by -24 ± 8% (range -36%; -15%) during the dive. In some children a further decline in HR was observed within the last minutes of the dive. Older and taller subjects and those with a high initial HR showed a more pronounced decline in HR. Furthermore singular supraventricular and ventricular extrasystoles were observed in some children. Immersion as well as facial and skin cooling presumably account for the initial decline in heart rate. A further drop in HR within the last minutes of the dive might be related to mild hypothermia. Single supraventricular and ventricular extrasystoles might occur in healthy children during dives.

Winkler and Muth are with the Dept. of Anaesthesiology, University of Ulm, Germany. Tetzlaff is with the Dept. of Sports Medicine, University of Tuebingen, Germany. Paulat is with the Section of Medical Technology, University of Applied Sciences, Ulm, Germany. Hebestreit is with the Dept. of Pediatrics, University of Wuerzburg, Germany.

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