Role of Cerebral Blood Flow in Extreme Breath Holding

Anthony R. Bain, Philip N. Ainslie, Ryan L. Hoiland, Chris K. Willie, David B. MacLeod, Dennis Madden, Petra Zubin Maslov, Ivan Drvis, Zeljko Dujic

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    The role of cerebral blood flow (CBF) on a maximal breath-hold (BH) in ultra-elite divers was examined. Divers (n = 7) performed one control BH, and one BH following oral administration of the non-selective cyclooxygenase inhibitor indomethacin (1.2 mg/kg). Arterial blood gases and CBF were measured prior to (baseline), and at BH termination. Compared to control, indomethacin reduced baseline CBF and cerebral delivery of oxygen (CDO2) by about 26% (p < 0.01). Indomethacin reduced maximal BH time from 339 ± 51 to 319 ± 57 seconds (p = 0.04). In both conditions, the CDO2 remained unchanged from baseline to the termination of apnea. At BH termination, arterial oxygen tension was higher following oral administration of indomethacin compared to control (4.05 ± 0.45 vs. 3.44 ± 0.32 kPa). The absolute increase in CBF from baseline to the termination of apnea was lower with indomethacin (p = 0.01). These findings indicate that the impact of CBF on maximal BH time is likely attributable to its influence on cerebral H+ washout, and therefore central chemoreceptive drive to breathe, rather than to CDO2.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)12-16
    Number of pages5
    JournalTranslational Neuroscience
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


    • Apnea
    • Cerebral oxygen delivery
    • Hypercapnia
    • Hypoxia
    • Indomethacin


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