Int J Sports Med 1999; 20(6): 410-414
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-971154
Orthopedics and Clinical Science

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Circulating Venous Bubbles in Recreational Diving: Relationships with Age, Weight, Maximal Oxygen Uptake and Body Fat Percentage

D. Carturan1 , A. Boussuges2 , H. Burnet3 , J. Fondarai4 , P. Vanuxem5 , B. Gardette6
  • 1Faculté des Sciences du Sport, Luminy, Marseille, France
  • 2Service de Réanimation Médicale et d'Hyberbarie, Hôpital Salvator, Marseille, France
  • 3CNRS, UPR de Neurobiologie et du Mouvement, Marseille, France
  • 4Service de Médicine du Sport, Hôpital Salvator, Marseille, France
  • 5Laboratoire de Physiologie et de Pathologie Respiratoire, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France
  • 6Société COMEX, Direction Scientifique, Marseille, France
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
09 March 2007 (online)

Decompression sickness (DCS) is recognized as a multifactorial phenomenon depending on several individual factors, such as age, adiposity, and level of fitness. The detection of circulating venous bubbles is considered as a useful index for the safety of a decompression, because of the relationship between bubbles and DCS probability. The aim of this work was to study the effects of individual variables which can be assessed non invasively, on the grades of bubbles detected 60 min, after diving by means of Doppler monitoring, in a sample of 40 male recreational scuba divers. The variables investigated were: age, weight, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and percentage of body fat ( % BF). Bubble signals were graded according to the code of Spencer. The relationships between the bubble grades (BG) and the variables investigated were studied using two methods: the differences between the average values of each variable at each BG were analyzed by the Scheffe test. Then we performed the non-parametric Spearman correlation analysis. Significant differences (P < 0.05) were found (Scheffe test) between average values of the variables at grade 0 and 3 (age: P = 0.0323; weight: P = 0.0420; VO2max: P = 0.0484), except for % BF (P = 0.1697). Relationships with P < 0.01 were found (Spearman correlation) between BG and the variables: age: p = 0.486, P = 0.0024; weight: p = 0.463, P = 0.0039; VO2max: p = -0.481, P = 0.0027; except for % BF: p = 0.362, P = 0.0237. This work showed that bubble production after hyperbaric exposures depends on several individual factors. The effects off age, weight and VO2max are more significant than the effect of % BF. We concluded that to take into account such variables in decompression tables and diving computer programs should allow to adapt the decompression procedures to individual risk factors and reduce the DCS probability.