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Matthew J. Barlow, Antonis Elia, Oliver M. Shannon, Angeliki Zacharogianni and Angelica Lodin-Sundstrom

Competitive apnea also known as free diving or breath-hold diving is an increasingly popular sport in which individuals attempt to achieve the greatest possible stationary breath-hold duration (i.e., static apnea) or maximal underwater distance or depth (i.e., dynamic apnea). During apnea, oxygen

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Kay Tetzlaff, Holger Schöppenthau and Jochen D. Schipke

Context:

It has been widely believed that tissue nitrogen uptake from the lungs during breath-hold diving would be insufficient to cause decompression stress in humans. With competitive free diving, however, diving depths have been ever increasing over the past decades.

Methods:

A case is presented of a competitive free-diving athlete who suffered stroke-like symptoms after surfacing from his last dive of a series of 3 deep breath-hold dives. A literature and Web search was performed to screen for similar cases of subjects with serious neurological symptoms after deep breath-hold dives.

Case Details:

A previously healthy 31-y-old athlete experienced right-sided motor weakness and difficulty speaking immediately after surfacing from a breathhold dive to a depth of 100 m. He had performed 2 preceding breath-hold dives to that depth with surface intervals of only 15 min. The presentation of symptoms and neuroimaging findings supported a clinical diagnosis of stroke. Three more cases of neurological insults were retrieved by literature and Web search; in all cases the athletes presented with stroke-like symptoms after single breath-hold dives of depths exceeding 100 m. Two of these cases only had a short delay to recompression treatment and completely recovered from the insult.

Conclusions:

This report highlights the possibility of neurological insult, eg, stroke, due to cerebral arterial gas embolism as a consequence of decompression stress after deep breath-hold dives. Thus, stroke as a clinical presentation of cerebral arterial gas embolism should be considered another risk of extreme breath-hold diving.

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Mònica Solana-Tramunt, Jose Morales, Bernat Buscà, Marina Carbonell and Lara Rodríguez-Zamora

. Rodriguez-Zamora L , Engan H , Lodin-Sundström A , Iglesias X , Rodriguez FA , Schagatay E . Blood lactate accumulation after competitive free diving and synchronized swimming . Undersea Hyperb Med . 2018 ; 45 ( 1 ): 55 – 63 . PubMed ID: 29571233 doi:10.22462/01.02.2018.8 10