Free diving is associated with extreme hypoxia. This study evaluated the combined effect of maximal static breath holding and underwater swimming on plasma biomarkers of tissue hypoxemia: erythropoietin, neuron-specific enolase and S100B, C-reactive protein, pro-atrial natriuretic peptide, and troponin T. Venous blood samples were obtained from 17 competing free divers before and 3 h after sessions of static apnea and underwater swimming. The heart was evaluated by echocardiography. Static apnea for 293 ± 78 s (mean ± SD) and subsequent 88 ± 21 m underwater swimming increased plasma erythropoietin from 10.6 ± 3.4 to 12.4 ± 4.1 mIU/L (P = 0.013) and neuron-specific enolase from 14.5 ± 5.3 to 24.6 ± 6.4 ng/mL (P = 0.017); C-reactive protein decreased from 0.84 ± 1.0 to 0.71 ± 0.67 mmol/L (P = 0.013). In contrast, plasma concentrations of S100B (P = 0.394), pro-atrial natriuretic peptide (P = 0.549), and troponin T (P = 0.125) remained unchanged and, as assessed by echocardiography, the heart was not affected. In competitive free divers, bouts of static and dynamic apnea increase plasma erythropoietin and neuron-specific enolase, suggesting that renal and neural tissue, rather than the heart, is affected by the hypoxia developed during apnea and underwater swimming.
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 2015, Vol 25, Issue 3
Journal Article; Observational Study; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't