Diving in the Arctic: Cold Water Immersion’s Effects on Heart Rate Variability in Navy Divers

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Lundell , R V , Räisänen-Sokolowski , A K , Wuorimaa , T K , Ojanen , T & Parkkola , K I 2020 , ' Diving in the Arctic: Cold Water Immersion’s Effects on Heart Rate Variability in Navy Divers ' , Frontiers in Physiology , vol. 10 , 1600 . https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.01600

Title: Diving in the Arctic: Cold Water Immersion’s Effects on Heart Rate Variability in Navy Divers
Author: Lundell, Richard V.; Räisänen-Sokolowski, Anne K.; Wuorimaa, Tomi K.; Ojanen, Tommi; Parkkola, Kai I.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research
University of Helsinki, HUSLAB
Date: 2020-01-31
Language: eng
Number of pages: 8
Belongs to series: Frontiers in Physiology
ISSN: 1664-042X
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/313365
Abstract: Introduction Diving close to the Arctic circle means diving in cold water regardless of the time of year. The human body reacts to cold through autonomous nervous system (ANS)-mediated thermoregulatory mechanisms. Diving also induces ANS responses as a result of the diving reflex. Materials and Methods In order to study ANS responses during diving in Arctic water temperatures, we retrospectively analyzed repeated 5-min heart rate variability (HRV) measures and the mean body temperature from dives at regular intervals using naval diving equipment measurement tests in 0 degrees C water. Three divers performed seven dives without physical activity (81-91 min), and two divers performed four dives with physical activity after 10 min of diving (0-10 min HRV recordings were included in the study). Results Our study showed a significant increase in parasympathetic activity (PNS) at the beginning of the dives, after which PNS activity decreased significantly (measure 5-10 min). Subsequent measurements (15-20 min and onward) showed a significant increase in PNS activity over time. Conclusion Our results suggest that the first PNS responses of the human diving reflex decrease quickly. Adverse effects of PNS activity should be considered on long and cold dives. To avoid concurrent sympathetic (SNS) and PNS activity at the beginning of dives, which in turn may increase the risk of arrhythmia in cold water, we suggest a short adaptation phase before physical activity. Moreover, we suggest it is prudent to give special attention to cardiovascular risk factors during pre-dive examinations for cold water divers.
Subject: 3111 Biomedicine
diving reflex
diving response
sympathetic response
parasympathetic response
Arctic diving
cold water immersion

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