Perspective on ultrasound bioeffects and possible implications for continuous post-dive monitoring safety.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Ultrasound monitoring, both in the form of Doppler and 2D echocardiography, has been used post-dive to detect decompression bubbles circulating in the bloodstream. With large variability in both bubble time course and loads, it has been hypothesised that shorter periods between imaging, or even continuous imaging, could provide more accurate post-dive assessments. However, while considering applications of ultrasound imaging post-decompression, it may also be prudent to consider the possibility of ultrasound-induced bioeffects. Clinical ultrasound studies using microbubble contrast agents have shown bioeffect generation with acoustic powers much lower than those used in post-dive monitoring. However, to date no studies have specifically investigated potential bioeffect generation from continuous post-dive echocardiography. This review discusses what can be drawn from the current ultrasound and diving literature on the safety of bubble sonication and highlights areas where more studies are needed. An overview of the ultrasound-bubble mechanisms that lead to bioeffects and analyses of ultrasound contrast agent studies on bioeffect generation in the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems are provided to illustrate how bubbles under ultrasound can cause damage within the body. Along with clinical ultrasound studies, studies investigating the effects of decompression bubbles under ultrasound are analysed and open questions regarding continuous post-dive monitoring safety are discussed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McCune, EP; Le, DQ; Lindholm, P; Nightingale, KR; Dayton, PA; Papadopoulou, V

Published Date

  • June 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 52 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 136 - 148

PubMed ID

  • 35732286

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9522608

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2209-1491

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1833-3516

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.28920/dhm52.2.136-148


  • eng