Analysis of neurologic symptoms in deep diving: implications for selection of divers

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Analysis of neurologic symptoms in deep diving: implications for selection of divers

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Title: Analysis of neurologic symptoms in deep diving: implications for selection of divers
Author: Todnem, K; Nyland, H; Ruse, T; Kambestad, BK; Vaernes, R; Hjelle, JO; Svihus, R; Aarli, JA
Abstract: Eighteen professional divers (age range 24-33 yr, mean 28.3) participated in one simulated dive to 360 meters of seawater (msw) in a helium-oxygen (heliox) atmosphere with equal compression and decompression profiles. All divers were given an extensive neurologic examination before diving. Clinical neurologic symptoms observed during the dives were equilibrium disorder, sleep disturbances, fatigue, nausea, loose stools, stomach pain, tremor, mental disturbances, reduced appetite, and headache. Symptoms were scored individually by each diver. The symptoms were analyzed statistically by factor analysis, which grouped them into four factors. These symptoms are presumably related to functional disturbances in the brain stem and the cerebellum. Factor 3 symptoms (tremor, mental disturbances, reduced appetite) correlated significantly to a history of predive decompression sickness (P = 0.006) and to cerebral concussion (P = 0.023). Three divers were periodically unable to work at bottom due to equilibrium disorder, diarrhea, or nausea. One diver with mild polyneuropathy and slight cerebral atrophy as seen by computerized tomography and another diver with abnormal electroencephalography were periodically unable to work due to equilibrium disorder and nausea, respectively. We advocate that divers with signs of central or peripheral nervous system dysfunction should not be selected for deep diving.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc. (http://www.uhms.org )
URI: PMID: 2321322
http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2564
Date: 1990

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  • Undersea Biomedical Research Journal
    The Undersea Baromedical Research journal was published by the Undersea Medical Society, Inc. (now the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society) quarterly from 1974 to 1992 when the name changed to the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Journal.

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