Evaluating the risk of decompression sickness for a yo-yo dive using a rat model

Dror Ofir, Yoav Yanir, Amir Abramovich, Ronen Bar, Yehuda Arieli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The frequent ascents made during yo-yo diving may contribute to gas bubble clearance but paradoxically may also increase the risk of central nervous system decompression illness (DCI). We evaluated the risk of DCI due to yo-yo dives with very short surface intervals, using a controlled animal model. Methods: Dives were conducted on air to a depth of 90 meters (10 atmospheres absolute) for 32 minutes of bottom time, at a descent/ascent rate of 10 meters/minute. Sprague-Dawley rats weighing ∼ 300 grams were divided randomly into three groups. Group A performed a square dive protocol without any surface intervals, Group B conducted a protocol that included two surface intervals during the dive, and Group C performed a protocol with three surface intervals. Ascent/descent rate for surface intervals, each lasting one minute, was also 10 meters/minute. Results: Manifestations of DCI were observed in 13 of 16 animals in Group A (81.3%), six of 12 in Group B (58.3%), and two of 12 in Group C (16.7%). Mortality rates were similar in all groups. Conclusions: Surface intervals during dives breathing air significantly reduced DCI risk in the rat. Further studies are required using a larger animal model to reinforce the results of the present investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-410
Number of pages6
JournalUndersea and Hyperbaric Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2016 Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc.


  • DCI
  • Decompression illness
  • Gas bubbles
  • Yo-yo dive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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