Do Deep Dives Cause Arrhythmia In Aquatic Mammals?

January 19, 2015 11:06 PM

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Do Deep Dives Cause Arrhythmia In Aquatic Mammals?

When marine mammals dive, they have to follow a respiratory process known as dive response. Obviously, as mammals, they have to hold their breath under water and this process ensures that they will have enough oxygen to make the dive and then resurface. For this process, the heart rate drops sharply in order to conserve oxygen; but when they find their prey at deeper depths, they need faster heart rate to keep up the chase.

Scientists now understand that this creates conflicting signals in the heart, particularly when they start to ascend again; and a new study has exposed that this can result in heart arrhythmia.

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