THE EFFECTS OF DIVING ON PULMONARY FUNCTION
The Medical Journal of Basrah University,
2006, Volume 24, Issue 1, Pages 55-59
Background: Diving as an occupation has its specific health problems. Respiratory system is one of the
systems that can be affected by environmental changes associated with diving as increased hydrostatic
pressure, increased breathing gas density, and increased partial pressure of gases e.g. oxygen and carbon
Aim: To determine the effects of diving on pulmonary function and the extent of this problem among
Subjects & Methods: One hundred and twenty divers with 240 non-divers military personnel were
interviewed according to special questionnaire and spirometry was performed for each of them.
Results: The values of all studied pulmonary function tests were found to be lower in divers as compared
with non-divers (FEV1, FVC, FEV1%, F50, F25, MVV, and MEF) with highly significant differences, except
FET which was significantly higher in divers than in non-divers. These changes gave the features of
obstructive airway disease.
Conclusions: Divers are at risk of some pulmonary function changes. The pattern of these changes is
consistent with small airways obstruction and they could be related mostly to their diving activities.
Other factors cannot be excluded. Further studies on such occupational group are recommended.
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