Document Detail

'Sea legs': sharpened Romberg test after three days on a live-aboard dive boat.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23111933     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
INTRODUCTION: The sharpened Romberg test (SRT) is commonly used by diving and hyperbaric physicians as an indicator of neurological decompression illness (DCI). People who spend a prolonged time on a boat at sea experience impairment in their balance on returning to shore, a condition known as mal de debarquement ('sea legs'). This conditioning of the vestibular system to the rocking motion of a boat at sea may impact on the utility of the SRT in assessing a diver with potential DCI after a live-aboard dive trip.
AIM: To assess the impact 'sea legs' has on the SRT after three days on a live-aboard dive trip.
METHODS: Thirty-nine staff and passengers of a three-day, live-aboard dive trip performed a SRT before and after their journey, with assessment of potential variables, including middle ear barotrauma, alcohol consumption, sea-sickness and occult DCI.
RESULTS: There was no statistically significant impact on SRT performance, with 100% completion pre-trip and 35 out of 36 divers (97.2%) post-trip. There were trends towards more attempts being required and time needed for successful SRT post-trip, but these were not statistically significant. There was a small, but noteworthy incidence of middle-ear barotrauma, with seven people affected pre-trip, and 13 post-trip. There was a higher incidence in student divers. Middle-ear barotrauma did not appear to have a direct impact on SRT performance.
CONCLUSION: There was no significant impact on SRT performance resulting from 'sea legs' after three days at sea. Recreational divers, especially dive students, have a substantial incidence of mild middle ear barotrauma.
Clinton R Gibbs; Katherine H Commons; Lawrence H Brown; Denise F Blake
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Diving and hyperbaric medicine : the journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society     Volume:  40     ISSN:  1833-3516     ISO Abbreviation:  Diving Hyperb Med     Publication Date:  2010 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-31     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101282742     Medline TA:  Diving Hyperb Med     Country:  Australia    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  189-94     Citation Subset:  -    
Registrar in the Hyperbaric Medicine Unit, The Townsville Hospital, PO Box 670, Townsville Queensland 4810, Australia, Phone: +61-(07)-4796-1111, Fax: +61-(07)-4796-2081, E-mail:
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