Diving response and arterial oxygen saturation during apnea and exercise in breath-hold divers.

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Abstract

This study addressed the effects of apnea in air and apnea with face immersion in cold water (10 degrees C) on the diving response and arterial oxygen saturation during dynamic exercise. Eight trained breath-hold divers performed steady-state exercise on a cycle ergometer at 100 W. During exercise, each subject performed 30-s apneas in air and 30-s apneas with face immersion. The heart rate and arterial oxygen saturation decreased and blood pressure increased during the apneas. Compared with apneas in air, apneas with face immersion augmented the heart rate reduction from 21 to 33% (P < 0.001) and the blood pressure increase from 34 to 42% (P < 0.05). The reduction in arterial oxygen saturation from eupneic control was 6.8% during apneas in air and 5.2% during apneas with face immersion (P < 0.05). The results indicate that augmentation of the diving response slows down the depletion of the lung oxygen store, possibly associated with a larger reduction in peripheral venous oxygen stores and increased anaerobiosis. This mechanism delays the fall in alveolar and arterial PO(2) and, thereby, the development of hypoxia in vital organs. Accordingly, we conclude that the human diving response has an oxygen-conserving effect during exercise.

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  • Physiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)882-886
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Volume93
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes