Evidence for the infiltration of gas bubbles into the arterial circulation and neuronal injury following "yo-yo" dives in pigs

Dror Ofir, Yoav Yanir, Michael Mullokandov, Ben Aviner, Yehuda Arieli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Yo-yo" diving may place divers at a greater risk of neurologic decompression illness (DCI). Using a rat model, we previously demonstrated that "yo-yo" diving has a protective effect against DCI. In the current study, we evaluated the risk of neurologic DCI following "yo-yo" dives in a pig model. Pigs were divided into four groups. The Control group (group A) made a square dive, without excursions to the surface ("peeps"). Group B performed two "peeps," group C performed four "peeps," and group D did not dive at all. All dives were conducted on air to 5 atm absolute, for 30-min bottom time. Echocardiography was performed to detect cardiac gas bubbles before the dive, immediately after, and at 90-min postdive. Motor performance was observed during the 5-h postdive period. Symptoms increased dramatically following a dive with four "peeps." Gas bubbles were detected in the right ventricle of all animals except for the sham group and in the left ventricle only after the four-peep dive. Neuronal cell injury was found in the spinal cord in each of the three experimental groups, tending to decrease with an increase in the number of "peeps." A four-peep "yo-yo" dive significantly increased the risk of neurologic DCI in pigs. Following a four-peep dive, we detected a higher incidence of bubbles in the left ventricle, supporting the common concern regarding an increased risk of neurologic DCI, albeit there was no direct correlation with the frequency of "red neurons" in the spinal cord.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1064
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2016 the American Physiological Society.


  • Decompression Illness
  • Gas Bubbles
  • Neuronal Injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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