The effect of clothing on "diving bradycardia" in man during submersion in cold water

M. Tipton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eighteen healthy male volunteers undertook three seated submersions into stirred water at 5°C. Whilst submerged, the subjects attempted to hold their breath for 20 s. They wore a different clothing assembly for each submersion, viz: a cotton overall assembly, a "wet suit" assembly and a "dry suit" assembly. During the experiments the breath-hold time, heart rate, skin and rectal temperatures of the subjects were recorded. The results showed that significantly (P<0.05) more subjects developed a diving bradycardia - defined as five or more consecutive R-R intervals of over 1.2 s - when wearing the dry suit. It is concluded that increasing the cold stress experienced by individuals during cold-water submersion decreases the incidence of diving bradycardia but not the magnitude of the bradycardia when it occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-364
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1989


  • Cold
  • Drowning
  • Heart rate
  • Immersion
  • Protective clothing


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