open access

Vol 72, No 3 (2021)
Original article
Published online: 2021-09-29
Submitted: 2021-02-20
Accepted: 2021-08-16
Get Citation

Comparison of insulation provided by dry or wetsuits among recreational divers during cold water immersion ( < 5°C)

Pierre Lafère1234, François Guerrero14, Peter Germonpré135, Costantino Balestra13678
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2021.0040
·
Pubmed: 34604992
·
International Maritime Health 2021;72(3):217-222.
Affiliations
  1. DAN Europe Research Division
  2. Department of Anaesthesiology, Erasme University Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
  3. Environmental, Occupational, Ageing (Integrative) Physiology Laboratory, Haute Ecole Bruxelles-Brabant (HE2B), Brussels, Belgium
  4. Optimisation des Régulations Physiologiques (ORPHY), EA 4324, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France
  5. Centre for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Military Hospital «Queen Astrid», Brussels, Belgium
  6. Anatomical Research and Clinical Studies (ARCS), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (V.U.B.), Brussels, Belgium
  7. Anatomical Research Training and Education (ARTE), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (V.U.B.), Brussels, Belgium
  8. Motor Sciences, Université Libre De Bruxelles (U.L.B.), Brussels, Belgium

open access

Vol 72, No 3 (2021)
DIVING/UNDERWATER MEDICINE Original article
Published online: 2021-09-29
Submitted: 2021-02-20
Accepted: 2021-08-16

Abstract

Background: Divers thermal status influences susceptibility to decompression sickness hence the need for proper insulation during immersion in cold water. However, there is a lack of data on thermal protection provided by diving suits, hence this study.
Materials and methods: Two different groups of divers wearing either a wetsuit (n = 15) or a dry suit (n = 15) volunteered for this study. Anthropometric data and dive experience were recorded; skin temperatures at the cervical-supraclavicular (C-SC) area and hands were assessed through high-resolution thermal infrared imaging taken pre- and post-dive.
Results: As far as anthropometrics, pre-dive C-SC temperatures (37.0 ± 0.4°C), depth (dry: 43 ± 4.6 mfw vs. wet: 40.3 ± 4.0 mfw) and water temperature exposure (4.3°C) are concerned, both groups were comparable. Total dive time was slightly longer for dry suit divers (39.6 ± 4.0 min vs. 36.5 ± 4.1 min, p = 0.049). Post-dive, C-SC temperature was increased in dry suit divers by 0.6 ± 0.6°C, and significantly decreased in wetsuit divers by 0.8 ± 0.6°C. The difference between groups was highly significant (dry: 37.5 ± 0.7°C vs. wet: 36.2 ± 0.7°C, p = 0.004). Hand’s temperature decreased significantly in both groups (dry: 30.3 ± 1.2°C vs. wet: 29.8 ± 0.8°C, p = 0.33). Difference between groups was not significant.
Conclusions: Medium-duration immersion in cold water (< 5°C), of healthy and fully protected subjects was well tolerated. It was demonstrated that proper insulation based on a three-layer strategy allows maintaining or even slightly improve thermal balance. However, from an operational point of view, skin extremities are not preserved.

Abstract

Background: Divers thermal status influences susceptibility to decompression sickness hence the need for proper insulation during immersion in cold water. However, there is a lack of data on thermal protection provided by diving suits, hence this study.
Materials and methods: Two different groups of divers wearing either a wetsuit (n = 15) or a dry suit (n = 15) volunteered for this study. Anthropometric data and dive experience were recorded; skin temperatures at the cervical-supraclavicular (C-SC) area and hands were assessed through high-resolution thermal infrared imaging taken pre- and post-dive.
Results: As far as anthropometrics, pre-dive C-SC temperatures (37.0 ± 0.4°C), depth (dry: 43 ± 4.6 mfw vs. wet: 40.3 ± 4.0 mfw) and water temperature exposure (4.3°C) are concerned, both groups were comparable. Total dive time was slightly longer for dry suit divers (39.6 ± 4.0 min vs. 36.5 ± 4.1 min, p = 0.049). Post-dive, C-SC temperature was increased in dry suit divers by 0.6 ± 0.6°C, and significantly decreased in wetsuit divers by 0.8 ± 0.6°C. The difference between groups was highly significant (dry: 37.5 ± 0.7°C vs. wet: 36.2 ± 0.7°C, p = 0.004). Hand’s temperature decreased significantly in both groups (dry: 30.3 ± 1.2°C vs. wet: 29.8 ± 0.8°C, p = 0.33). Difference between groups was not significant.
Conclusions: Medium-duration immersion in cold water (< 5°C), of healthy and fully protected subjects was well tolerated. It was demonstrated that proper insulation based on a three-layer strategy allows maintaining or even slightly improve thermal balance. However, from an operational point of view, skin extremities are not preserved.

Get Citation

Keywords

diving, cold water immersion, body insulation, wetsuits, dry suit, thermal imaging

About this article
Title

Comparison of insulation provided by dry or wetsuits among recreational divers during cold water immersion (< 5°C)

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 72, No 3 (2021)

Article type

Original article

Pages

217-222

Published online

2021-09-29

DOI

10.5603/IMH.2021.0040

Pubmed

34604992

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2021;72(3):217-222.

Keywords

diving
cold water immersion
body insulation
wetsuits
dry suit
thermal imaging

Authors

Pierre Lafère
François Guerrero
Peter Germonpré
Costantino Balestra

References (34)
  1. Ferretti G, Veicsteinas A, Rennie DW. Regional heat flows of resting and exercising men immersed in cool water. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1988; 64(3): 1239–1248.
  2. McArdle WD, Toner MM, Magel JR, et al. Thermal responses of men and women during cold-water immersion: influence of exercise intensity. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1992; 65(3): 265–270.
  3. Gerth W, Ruterbusch V, Long E. The influence of thermal exposure on diver susceptibility to decompression sickness. Panama City: Navy Experimental Diving Unit, 2007 Contract No.: NEDU TR 06-07. 2007.
  4. Pollock NW, editor Thermal physiology and diver protection. Rebreather Forum 3; 2013; Durham, NC: AAUS/DAN/PADI.
  5. Lundell RV, Arola O, Suvilehto J, et al. Decompression illness (DCI) in Finland 1999-2018: Special emphasis on technical diving. Diving Hyperb Med. 2019; 49(4): 259–265.
  6. Lafère P, Balestra C, Caers D, et al. Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO), Personality Traits, and Iterative Decompression Sickness. Retrospective Analysis of 209 Cases. Front Psychol. 2017; 8: 1328.
  7. Senn JR, Maushart CI, Gashi G, et al. Outdoor temperature influences cold induced thermogenesis in humans. Front Physiol. 2018; 9: 1184.
  8. Park YS, Kim JS, Choi JK. Increase of heat loss by wearing gloves and boots in wet-suited subjects working in cold water. Ann Physiol Anthropol. 1992; 11(4): 393–400.
  9. Power J, Tikuisis P, Ré AS, et al. Correction factors for assessing immersion suits under harsh conditions. Appl Ergon. 2016; 53 Pt A: 87–94.
  10. Steinman AM, Hayward JS, Nemiroff MJ, et al. Immersion hypothermia: comparative protection of anti-exposure garments in calm versus rough seas. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1987; 58(6): 550–558.
  11. World Medical Association. World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. JAMA. 2013; 310(20): 2191–2194.
  12. Hodgdon JA, Beckett MB. Prediction of percent body fat for U.S. Navy men from body circumferences and height. 1984.
  13. Hodgdon J, Friedl K. Development of the DoD Body Composition Estimation Equations. San Diego, CA: US Navy, 1998 Technical Document No. 99-2B. 1998.
  14. Moreira DG, Costello JT, Brito CJ, et al. Thermographic imaging in sports and exercise medicine: A Delphi study and consensus statement on the measurement of human skin temperature. J Therm Biol. 2017; 69: 155–162.
  15. Tipton MJ, Collier N, Massey H, et al. Cold water immersion: kill or cure? Exp Physiol. 2017; 102(11): 1335–1355.
  16. Larsen T, Kumar S, Grimmer K, et al. A systematic review of guidelines for the prevention of heat illness in community-based sports participants and officials. J Sci Med Sport. 2007; 10(1): 11–26.
  17. Law J, Morris DE, Izzi-Engbeaya C, et al. Thermal imaging is a noninvasive alternative to PET/CT for measurement of brown adipose tissue activity in humans. J Nucl Med. 2018; 59(3): 516–522.
  18. Norheim AJ, Borud E, Wilsgaard T, et al. Variability in peripheral rewarming after cold stress among 255 healthy Norwegian army conscripts assessed by dynamic infrared thermography. Int J Circumpolar Health. 2018; 77(1): 1536250.
  19. Ergonomics of the thermal environment. Estimation of thermal insulation and water vapour resistance of a clothing ensemble. ISO 9920. 2010.
  20. Oliveira AV, Gaspar AR, Quintela DA. Measurements of clothing insulation with a thermal manikin operating under the thermal comfort regulation mode: comparative analysis of the calculation methods. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008; 104(4): 679–688.
  21. Wheelock CE, Hess HW, Schlader ZJ, et al. Whole-body active heating does not preserve finger temperature or manual dexterity during cold-water immersion. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2020; 47(2): 253–260.
  22. Roy R, Boucher JP, Comtois AS. Validity of infrared thermal measurements of segmental paraspinal skin surface temperature. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006; 29(2): 150–155.
  23. Ring EFJ, Ammer K. Infrared thermal imaging in medicine. Physiol Meas. 2012; 33(3): R33–R46.
  24. James CA, Richardson AJ, Watt PW, et al. Reliability and validity of skin temperature measurement by telemetry thermistors and a thermal camera during exercise in the heat. J Therm Biol. 2014; 45: 141–149.
  25. Arieli R, Kerem D, Gonen A, et al. Thermal status of wet-suited divers using closed circuit O2 apparatus in sea water of 17-18.5 degrees C. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1997; 76(1): 69–74.
  26. Shiraki K, Sagawa S, Konda N, et al. Energetics of wet-suit diving in Japanese male breath-hold divers. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1986; 61(4): 1475–1480.
  27. Parsons KC. Human Thermal Environments. The effects of hot, moderate and cold environments on human health, comfort and performance. . 2nd ed. Taylor & Francis, London 2003.
  28. Kim E, Yoo SJ, Shim H. Performance of selected clothing systems under subzero conditions: determination of performance by a human-clothing-environment simulator. Text Res J. 2016; 76(4): 301–308.
  29. Gajsek U, Sieber A, Finderle Z. Thermal balance of spinal cord injured divers during cold water diving: A case control study. Diving Hyperb Med. 2020; 50(3): 256–263.
  30. Buzzacott P, Pollock NW, Rosenberg M. Exercise intensity inferred from air consumption during recreational scuba diving. Diving Hyperb Med. 2014; 44(2): 74–78.
  31. McFarland R, Barrett L, Fuller A, et al. Infrared thermography cannot be used to approximate core body temperature in wild primates. Am J Primatol. 2020; 82(12): e23204.
  32. van der Vinne V, Pothecary CA, Wilcox SL, et al. Continuous and non-invasive thermography of mouse skin accurately describes core body temperature patterns, but not absolute core temperature. Sci Rep. 2020; 10(1): 20680.
  33. Riera F, Horr R, Xu X, et al. Thermal and metabolic responses of military divers during a 6-hour static dive in cold water. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2014; 85(5): 509–517.
  34. Brajkovic D, Ducharme MB. Finger dexterity, skin temperature, and blood flow during auxiliary heating in the cold. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2003; 95(2): 758–770.

Regulations

Important: This website uses cookies. More >>

The cookies allow us to identify your computer and find out details about your last visit. They remembering whether you've visited the site before, so that you remain logged in - or to help us work out how many new website visitors we get each month. Most internet browsers accept cookies automatically, but you can change the settings of your browser to erase cookies or prevent automatic acceptance if you prefer.

By "Via Medica sp. z o.o." sp.k., ul. Świętokrzyska 73, 80–180 Gdańsk

tel.:+48 58 320 94 94, faks:+48 58 320 94 60, e-mail:  viamedica@viamedica.pl