The physiological demands placed on these world-class athletes are tremendous. “The transient stress on their lungs is similar to what is observed in patients who suffer from cardiac and respiratory disease.” It has been challenging, in the past, to assess the consequences of deep dives on pulmonary gas exchange, especially during true field-based conditions. “Measuring oxygen deficit has allowed us to establish the impact of ‘lung squeeze’ on gas exchange inefficiency in elite freedivers,” stated Dr. Philip Ainslie.
Oxygen deficit was developed for detecting gas exchange inefficiency using a simple, non-invasive method. “Understanding gas exchange inefficiency in respiratory patients is fundamental to improving patient outcomes,” according to Dr. John B. West, the world-renowned physiologist who pioneered the concept.
Freedivers place themselves in extreme conditions, which push the outer limits of human lung physiology and can lead to high oxygen deficit. The device provided rapid feedback to the research team tasked with assessing the freedivers’ gas exchange status. “We hope that our device will continue to aid clinicians by providing patients’ respiratory status rapidly and conveniently in situations where direct gas exchange measurement is either difficult or impossible; the device also has clear application to field-based conditions,” said Steve Lee, CEO of MediPines.