Topic: Scuba diving

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Mammalian diving reflex

Medicine Physiology Scuba diving Physiology/neuro

The diving reflex, also known as the diving response and mammalian diving reflex, is a set of physiological responses to immersion that overrides the basic homeostatic reflexes, and is found in all air-breathing vertebrates studied to date. It optimizes respiration by preferentially distributing oxygen stores to the heart and brain, enabling submersion for an extended time.

The diving reflex is exhibited strongly in aquatic mammals, such as seals, otters, dolphins, and muskrats, and exists as a lesser response in other animals, including adult humans, babies up to 6 months old (see infant swimming), and diving birds, such as ducks and penguins.

The diving reflex is triggered specifically by chilling and wetting the nostrils and face while breath-holding, and is sustained via neural processing originating in the carotid chemoreceptors. The most noticeable effects are on the cardiovascular system, which displays peripheral vasoconstriction, slowed heart rate, redirection of blood to the vital organs to conserve oxygen, release of red blood cells stored in the spleen, and, in humans, heart rhythm irregularities. Although aquatic animals have evolved profound physiological adaptations to conserve oxygen during submersion, the apnea and its duration, bradycardia, vasoconstriction, and redistribution of cardiac output occur also in terrestrial animals as a neural response, but the effects are more profound in natural divers.

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Incident Pit

Occupational Safety and Health Scuba diving

An incident pit is a conceptual pit with sides that become steeper over time and with each new incident until a point of no return is reached. As time moves forward, seemingly innocuous incidents push a situation further toward a bad situation and escape from the incident pit becomes more difficult. An incident pit may or may not have a point of no return such as an event horizon.

It is a term used by divers, as well as engineers, medical personnel, and technology management personnel, to describe these situations and more importantly to avoid becoming ensnared.

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Liquid Breathing

Medicine Medicine/Pulmonology Physiology Scuba diving Physiology/respiratory

Liquid breathing is a form of respiration in which a normally air-breathing organism breathes an oxygen-rich liquid (such as a perfluorocarbon), rather than breathing air.

This requires certain physical properties such as respiratory gas solubility, density, viscosity, vapor pressure, and lipid solubility which some, but not all, perfluorochemicals (perfluorocarbon) have. Thus, it is critical to choose the appropriate PFC for a specific biomedical application, such as liquid ventilation, drug delivery or blood substitutes. The physical properties of PFC liquids vary substantially; however, the one common property is their high solubility for respiratory gases. In fact, these liquids carry more oxygen and carbon dioxide than blood.

In theory, liquid breathing could assist in the treatment of patients with severe pulmonary or cardiac trauma, especially in pediatric cases. Liquid breathing has also been proposed for use in deep diving and space travel. Despite some recent advances in liquid ventilation, a standard mode of application has not yet been established.

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