Cardiovascular responses elicited by different simulated diving manoeuvres

Jan Trouerbach, Daniel Duprez, Marc De Buyzere, Johan De Sutter, Denis Clement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


It has been documented that placing an ice-bag on the forehead causes similar cardiac and vascular responses as face immersion. There has been disagreement concerning the contribution of separate cold stimulation on the face and breathholding in the diving response. This study set out to unravel the extent to which these two factors contribute individually to the observed cardiovascular changes during the combined manoeuvre. It further aimed to reveal whether peripheral vascular responses to these stimuli are different in forearm and calf. We observed a significant rapid increase in the RR-interval, which was maintained until the end of the 25-s observation period and a homogeneous vasoconstriction in forearm and calf, despite minor changes in arterial blood pressure, during breathholding, placing the icebag on the forehead and the combined stimuli. Cardiac and peripheral vascular responses to the combined manoeuvre did not differ significantly from the responses elicitated by the two stimuli separately. This test is another example that illustrates the heterogeneous cardiovascular response involving both parasympathetic and sympathetic activation. Moreover, since the icebag on the forehead test is technically easy to perform and does not require the active co-operation of the patient, it may be a valid method to replace a full face immersion test accompanied by breathholding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-344
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1994


  • Blood pressure
  • Calf and forearm circulation
  • Diving manoeuvres
  • Heart rate
  • Peripheral circulation


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