Physiological responses to exercise at 47 and 66 ATA.
Five male volunteers served as subjects for exercise studies during three dives to pressures of 47 and 66 ATA while breathing gases containing 0.5 ATA PO2 and varying amounts of N2 and He. The inspired gas density ranged from 1.1 g/l (BTPS) at the surface to 17.1 g/l at the highest pressure. Dyspnea at rest and during exercise was evident in all divers and was predominantly inspiratory in nature. Despite the dyspnea, divers were able to perform work requiring an O2 consumption larger than 2 l/min STPD at each depth. Compared with surface measurements, moderate work at depth was associated with alveolar hypoventilation, arterial hypercapnia, very large physiological dead space, and higher levels of arterial lactate and signs of simultaneous respiratory and metabolic acidosis. The increase of ventilation that accompanies the onset of acidemia at the surface was not present at depth. Acidemia at depth was more severe, and its onset occurred at lesser work rates than at 1 ATA. No large differences could be ascertained when a variety of responses obtained with inspired gas having a density of 7.9 g/l at 47 ATA were compared with those obtained with an inspired gas density of 17.1 g/l at 66 ATA. It appears that the major impact of the environment on the physiological responses to work was almost fully manifested at a pressure of 47 ATA with a He-O2 gas mixture. It is cautioned that maximum work tolerance may be an insufficient assessment of the physiological condition of a diver exposed to these high pressures.
Salzano, JV; Camporesi, EM; Stolp, BW; Moon, RE
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