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Dehydration of a diver during a hyperbaric chamber exposure with oxygen decompression

Objective: An analysis of factors that may indicate both the type and degree of dehydration of a diver’s body following a dry chamber hyperbaric exposure.

Methods: The study was participated by 63 men – professional divers, with extensive diving experience, aged 24-51 years (average age 32.6). The subjects underwent two hyperbaric exposures, one to a pressure of 0.3 MPa and one to a pressure of 0.6 MPa, with oxygen decompression. The exposures were carried out in a hyperbaric chamber pursuant to the decompression tables of the Polish Navy, with the observance of a 24-hour interval between exposures. Blood samples were collected from the participants in order to perform a blood morphology test. Body weight was measured with the bioelectrical impedance method using the Maltron BioScan 920 device. The results were subjected to statistical analysis. The following blood morphology parameters were analyzed: hematocrit (Ht), erythrocyte size (MCV), color index (MCHC) and body weight composition: total water (TBW), extracellular water (ECW), intracellular water (ICW).

Results: The studies have shown that during a hyperbaric exposure in the chamber the diver’s body becomes dehydrated, with observable loss of both intracellular water as evidenced by the reduction of hematocrit content and erythrocyte size, as well as extracellular water, with the accompanying increase in the color index.

Conclusions: Hyperbaric conditions are conducive to the dehydration of the diver’s body, however to a degree which does not lead to an occurrence of health hazards. Good care for one’s health through proper nutrition and hydration are sufficient preventive and protective measures.

DOI: 10.22462/04.06.2019.11