Int J Sports Med 2013; 34(12): 1043-1050
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1345136
Physiology & Biochemistry
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

The Underestimated Compression Effect of Neoprene Wetsuit on Divers Hydromineral Homeostasis

O. Castagna
1   Underwater Research Team (ERRSO), Military Biomedical Research Institute (IRBA), Toulon, France
2   The Laboratory of Human Motricity, Education Sport and Health, LAMHESS (EA 6309) UFR STAPS de Toulon, France
J.-E. Blatteau
1   Underwater Research Team (ERRSO), Military Biomedical Research Institute (IRBA), Toulon, France
N. Vallee
1   Underwater Research Team (ERRSO), Military Biomedical Research Institute (IRBA), Toulon, France
B. Schmid
1   Underwater Research Team (ERRSO), Military Biomedical Research Institute (IRBA), Toulon, France
J. Regnard
3   Université de Franche-comte, Besancon, France
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 27 March 2013

Publication Date:
18 June 2013 (online)


This study aimed at demonstrating that the neoprene wetsuit provides not only thermal protection. Compression it exerts on the diver’s shell significantly impacts hydromineral homeostasis by restraining the systemic vascular capacity and secondarily increasing urine output on dry land and during scuba diving. 8 healthy divers underwent five 2-h sessions: sitting out of water in trunks (control situation), sitting out of water wearing a wetsuit, and 3 wetsuit scuba-immersed sessions at 1, 6 and 12 msw depth, respectively. Urine volumes and blood samples were collected. Hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit (Ht) and plasma sodium concentration were measured. Interface pressure between the garment and the skin was measured at 17 sites of the body shell, with a pressure transducer. Mean interface pressures between wetsuit and skin amounted to: 25.8±2.8 mm Hg. Whatever the depth, elastic recoil tension of wetsuit material was unchanged by immersion. Weight loss was respectively 2 and 3 times greater when wetsuit was worn out of water (430 g) and during immersion (710 g) than when divers did not wear any wetsuit out of water (235 g; p<0.05). Urine volume accounted for 85% of weight loss in either session. Weight loss and urine volume were similar whatever immersion depth. The decrease in plasma volume amounted to 8% of urine volume when divers did not wear any wetsuit out of water, and to 30% when wetsuit was worn out of water or during immersion. Diving wetsuit develops a pressure effect that alters diver’s hydromineral homeostasis. During immersion, the wetsuit pressure merges into the larger main effect of hydrostatic pressure to reduce water content of body fluids, unrelated to immersion depth.

  • References

  • 1 Arborelius Jr M, Balldin UI, Lila B, Lundgren CE. Hemodynamic changes in man during immersion with the head above water. Aerosp Med 1972; 43: 592-598
  • 2 Boutelier C, Timbal J, Colin J. Thermal conductance of the human body during immersion in thermally neutral and in cold water. Arch Sci Physiol 1973; 27: 189-205
  • 3 Castagna O, Brisswalter J, Vallee N, Blatteau JE. Endurance exercise immediately before sea diving reduces bubble formation in scuba divers. Eur J Appl Physiol 2011; 111: 1047-1054
  • 4 Coulange M, Riera F, Melin B, Delliaux S, Kipson N, Jimenez C, Robinet C, Jammes Y. Consequences of prolonged total thermoneutral immersion on muscle performance and EMG activity. Pflug Arch- Eur J Physiol 2008; 455: 903-911
  • 5 DiBona GF, Kopp UC. Neural control of renal function. Physiol Rev 1997; 77: 75-197
  • 6 Dill DB, Costill DL. Calculation of percentage changes in volumes of blood, plasma, and red cells in dehydration. J Appl Physiol 1974; 37: 247-248
  • 7 Ertl AC, Bernauer EM, Hom CA. Plasma volume shifts with immersion at rest and two exercise intensities. Med Sci Sports Exer 1991; 23: 450-457
  • 8 Gempp E, Blatteau JE, Pontier JM, Balestra C, Louge P. Preventive effect of pre-dive hydration on bubble formation in divers. Br J Sports Med 2009; 43: 224-228
  • 9 Greenleaf JE, Shevartz E, Keil LC. Hemodilution, vasopressin suppression, and diuresis during water immersion in man. Aviat Space Environ Med 1981; 52: 329-336
  • 10 Guyton A, Taylor A, Granger H. Dynamics and control of the body fluids. In: Circulatory physiology II. WB Saunders; Philadelphia: 1975: 412
  • 11 Harriss DJ, Atkinson G. Update – Ethical standards in sport and exercise science research. Int J Sports Med 2011; 32: 819-821
  • 12 Hope A, Aanderud L, Aakvaag A. Dehydration and body fluid-regulating hormones during sweating in warm (38 degrees C) fresh- and seawater immersion. J Appl Physiol 2001; 91: 1529-1534
  • 13 Jimenez C, Regnard J, Robinet C, Mourot L, Gomez-Merino D, Chennaoui M, Jammes Y, Dumoulin G, Desruelle AV, Melin B. Whole body immersion and hydromineral homeostasis: effect of water temperature. Eur J Appl Physiol 2010; 108: 49-58
  • 14 Johansen LB, Foldager N, Stadeager C, Kristensen MS, Bie P, Warberg J, Kamegai M, Norsk P. Plasma volume, fluid shifts, and renal responses in humans during 12 h of head-out water immersion. J Appl Physiol 1992; 73: 539-544
  • 15 Johansen LB, Pump B, Warberg J, Christensen NJ, Norsk P. Preventing hemodilution abolishes natriuresis of water immersion in humans. Am J Physiol 1998; 275: R879-R888
  • 16 Larsen AS, Johansen LB, Stadeager C, Warberg J, Christensen NJ, Norsk P. Volume-homeostatic mechanisms in humans during graded water immersion. J Appl Physiol 1994; 77: 2832-2839
  • 17 Lundgren CE. Respiratory function during simulated wet dives. Undersea Biomed Res 1984; 11: 139 -147
  • 18 Ménétrier A, Mourot L, Bouhaddi M, Regnard J, Tordi N. Compression sleeves increase tissue oxygen saturation but not running performance. Int J Sports Med 2011; 32: 864-868
  • 19 Miki K, Hajduczok G, Hong SK, Krasney JA. Plasma volume changes during head-out water immersion in conscious dogs. Am J Physiol 1986; 251: R582-R590
  • 20 Miki K, Pazik MM, Krasney E, Hong SK, Krasney JA. Thoracic duct lymph flow during head-out water immersion in conscious dogs. Am J Physiol 1987; 252: R782-R785
  • 21 Miki K, Klocke MR, Hong SK, Krasney JA. Interstitial and intravascular pressures in conscious dogs during head-out water immersion. Am J Physiol 1989; 257: R358-R364
  • 22 Mollerlokken A, Breskovic T, Palada I, Valic Z, Dujic Z, Brubakk AO. Observation of increased venous gas emboli after wet dives compared to dry dives. Diving Hyperb Med 2011; 41: 124-128
  • 23 Mosteller RD. Simplified calculation of body-surface area. New Engl J Med 1987; 317: 1098
  • 24 Mosti G, Partsch H. Compression stockings with a negative pressure gradient have a more pronounced effect on venous pumping function than graduated elastic compression stockings. Eur J Vasc Endovasc 2011; 42: 261-266
  • 25 Mourot L, Bouhaddi M, Gandelin E, Cappelle S, Dumoulin G, Wolf JP, Rouillon JD, Regnard J. Cardiovascular autonomic control during short-term thermoneutral and cool head-out immersion. Aviat Space Environ Med 2008; 79: 14-20
  • 26 Mourot L, Bouhaddi M, Gandelin E, Cappelle S, Nguyen NU, Wolf JP, Rouillon JD, Hughson R, Regnard J. Conditions of autonomic reciprocal interplay versus autonomic co-activation: effects on non-linear heart rate dynamics. Auton Neurosci-Basic 2007; 137: 27-36
  • 27 Norsk P, Bonde-Petersen F, Warberg J. Arginine vasopressin, circulation, and kidney during graded water immersion in humans. J Appl Physiol 1986; 61: 565-574
  • 28 Norsk P, Bonde-Petersen F, Christensen NJ. Catecholamines, circulation, and the kidney during water immersion in humans. J Appl Physiol 1990; 69: 479-484
  • 29 Partsch H, Mosti G. Comparison of three portable instruments to measure compression pressure. Int Angiol 2010; 29: 426-430
  • 30 Privett SE, George KP, Whyte GP, Cable NT. The effectiveness of compression garments and lower limb exercise on post-exercise blood pressure regulation in orthostatically intolerant athletes. Clin J Sport Med 2010; 20: 362-367
  • 31 Ramanathan NL. A New Weighting System for Mean Surface Temperature of the Human Body. J Appl Physiol 1964; 19: 531-533
  • 32 Regnard J, Beji M, Combalot M, Lockhart A, Dall’Ava-Santucci J. Increase in thoracic blood volume on inflation of antistock trousers estimated by respiratory inductance plethysmography. Eur Respir J 1990; 3: 127
  • 33 Sawka MN, Young AJ, Pandolf KB, Dennis RC, Valeri CR. Erythrocyte, plasma, and blood volume of healthy young men. Med Sci Sport Exerc 1992; 24: 447-453
  • 34 Stadeager C, Johansen LB, Warberg J, Christensen NJ, Foldager N, Bie P, Norsk P. Circulation, kidney function, and volume-regulating hormones during prolonged water immersion in humans. J Appl Physiol 1992; 73: 530-538
  • 35 Stocks JM, Patterson MJ, Hyde DE, Jenkins AB, Mittleman KD, Taylor NA. Effects of immersion water temperature on whole-body fluid distribution in humans. Acta Physiol Scand 2004; 182: 3-10
  • 36 Thornton WE, Hedge V, Coleman E, Uri JJ, Moore TP. Changes in leg volume during microgravity simulation. Aviat Space Environ Med 1992; 63: 789-794