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Improved pulmonary function in working divers breathing nitrox at shallow depthsINTRODUCTION: There is limited data about the long-term pulmonary effects of nitrox use in divers at shallow depths. This study examined changes in pulmonary function in a cohort of working divers breathing a 46% oxygen enriched mixture while diving at depths less than 12 m. METHODS: A total of 43 working divers from the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), NASA-Johnson Space Center completed a questionnaire providing information on diving history prior to NBL employment, diving history outside the NBL since employment, and smoking history. Cumulative dive hours were obtained from the NBL dive-time database. Medical records were reviewed to obtain the diver's height, weight, and pulmonary function measurements from initial pre-dive, first year and third year annual medical examinations. RESULTS: The initial forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) were greater than predicted, 104% and 102%, respectively. After 3 yr of diving at the NBL, both the FVC and FEV1 showed a significant (p < 0.01) increase of 6.3% and 5.5%, respectively. There were no significant changes in peak expiratory flow (PEF), forced mid-expiratory flow rate (FEF(25-75%)), and forced expiratory flow rates at 25%, 50%, and 75% of FVC expired (FEF25%, FEF50%, FEF75%). Cumulative NBL dive hours was the only contributing variable found to be significantly associated with both FVC and FEV1 at 1 and 3 yr. CONCLUSIONS: NBL divers initially belong to a select group with larger than predicted lung volumes. Regular diving with nitrox at shallow depths over a 3-yr period did not impair pulmonary function. Improvements in FVC and FEV1 were primarily due to a training effect.
Document ID
20040087595
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Fitzpatrick, Daniel T. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston TX United States)
Conkin, Johnny
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Aviation, space, and environmental medicine
Volume: 74
Issue: 7
ISSN: 0095-6562
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other
Keywords
Non-programmatic
Evaluation Studies