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The first scientific research on the effects of Covid-19 for divers and freedivers is underway


At the start, in the deepest pool in the world, the first scientific research on the effects of Covid-19 on divers and freedivers. The goal is to assess what and how much is the actual risk of a return to diving activities for those who have contracted the virus, with a project promoted by Dan Europe (Divers Alert Network), Y-40 The deep joy with the program Open Lab, Apnea Academy by Umberto Pelizzari, with the involvement of the University of Padua and the Ifc-Cnr of Milan. In this long year of pandemic, it has been observed that those recovered from Covid-19 could present, in the long term, injuries to the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems, as had already happened for the survivors of Sars and MERS, respiratory diseases with symptoms analogous to the pathology caused by Sars-Cov-2. Some of this damage may gradually heal until it disappears, but in some patients it can lead to chronic respiratory failure. Conditions and disturbances that could represent a risk for the practice of scuba diving, with cylinders or apnea. Currently there are guidelines and indications issued on the recommendation of specialists by the European Committee for Hyperbaric Medicine (Echm) and by the Italian Society of Underwater Medicine (Sims), but there is a lack of scientific studies and objective data to support them. Thus a series of experts on the subject, led by Alessandro Marroni, founder of the Dan Europe Foundation and specialist in underwater and hyperbaric medicine, and by Danilo Cialoni, researcher Dan Europe, decided to conduct investigations to try to understand how and to what extent a return to diving for those who have contracted the virus Covid-19 cardiomyopathy, a secondary symptom that may not arouse particular interest during the acute phase of the disease, could represent an important and disabling additional factor for the resumption of diving activities. For the research, 60 volunteers were selected, including divers and freedivers, who have contracted and passed Covid-19 and now want to return underwater. The tests, which began in May, take place at the Y-40 The Deep Joy thermal water pool (the deepest in the world, 42 meters) in Montegrotto Terme (Padua) and will end at the end of July. The first results will arrive by next autumn: they will be the basis for developing guidelines for the safe return of divers and freedivers after Covid-19. “Our body adapts to diving in a wonderful way, and therefore our study – explains Cialoni – provides analyzes before and after the dive but also during, thanks to the possibility of carrying out sampling, lung and heart ultrasound scans underwater”. “During the research on the effects of Covid-19, on divers and freedivers, we started using a new telemedicine tool, ‘Dive Sense’, capable of monitoring the vital parameters of the diver while diving in real time”, underlines Marroni. The medical tests will be performed in the thirty minutes before the dive (which will take place at 10/20/30 meters depending on the level of certification), immediately after leaving the water and as a follow-up at 30/60/90 minutes after the descent. All the subjects involved, therefore both the doctor who will carry out the blood samples during the dive and the participants themselves, will get off safely assisted by the specialized staff of Dan Europe.



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