Diving as a job, exposes individuals to a variety of environmental stresses not often encountered in other
types of activities. These stresses lead to changes in many organ systems in the body of divers including
haemopoietic system. No previous study was carried out in Iraq to examine the changes in
haematological parameters among divers and the association between the diving environmental factors
and these changes.
This is a cross-sectional comparative study with a practical component. Eighty divers and 160 nondivers
from the Iraqi Navy Force were included. Twenty-five divers were exposed to 2.5 ATA (Absolute
Atmosphere) pressure for 15 minutes in a hyperbaric chamber.
All the studied haematological parameters, which were evaluated, including WBC count, RBC count, Hb
concentration, PCV, MCV, MCH, MCHC, platelet count, MPV, and ESR were found to be different in
divers as compared to non-divers. The MCV, PCV, MCH, platelet count, were significantly lower in
divers. While Hb, and MCHC values were lower in divers but without a statistical significant difference.
In addition, the mean RBC count, MPV, and ESR were significantly higher in divers. While WBC count
was not significantly higher in divers.
The study confirmed the previous findings of other studies, which indicate that diving has an effect on
the haemopoietic system. The need to introduce haematological investigations as part of the preemployment
check-up of divers, as well as periodic investigations of divers are recommended.