Body temperature and heart rate in paediatric SCUBA dives



Diving with self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) has become a popular recreational activity in children and adolescents. Compared to adults, children are expected to be at increased risk for hypothermia during SCUBA diving, which may also result in bradycardia. 

Research question

The objective of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of hypothermia in children during an open-water SCUBA dive and to monitor the heart rate response. 

Type of study: 

Single group interventional trial. 


Measurements of oral, tympanic and skin temperature at several sites were performed before and after the dive. Heart rate was monitored continuously in 22 children and adolescents aged 10-15 years during a 30 min. dive (mean water temperature 18.7°C). 


There was a decline in oral (-0.9°C; -2.4%), tympanic (-2.3°C; -6.1%) and chest (-3.7°C; -10.6%), arm (-2.1°C; -6.3%), thigh (-2.1°C; -6.8%), leg (-2.4°C; -7.6%) and forehead (-3.5°C; -9.9%) skin temperature. Mild hypothermia occurred in four subjects. Heart rate declined continuously during the dive and was different 10, 20, 25 and 30 minutes after descent compared to 5 minutes after descent. Bradycardia was related with high mean depth and low water temperature during the dive but not with skin or body temperatures. 


Significant heat loss and decline in heart rate occur commonly during SCUBA dives in children and adolescents. 


heat loss, hypothermia, hyperbaric, hyperoxia, bradycardia

Autor / Fonte:Dr Bernd E Winkler, Dr Kay Tetzlaff, Dr Claus-Martin Muth, Dr Andreas Koch, Professor Michael Georgieff, Professor Helge Hebestreit. ISMJ .Vol. 15 No.1 April 2014