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irregular heartbeat after max static

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Aug 17, 2002
hi everybody

i've experienced (again today) a quite massive irregularity in heartbeat after todays max static (6:24). the frequency as well as the intensity (bp) was completely irregular, especially in the first half hour after that static. my heartrate stayed elevated (and mildly irregular) at 80 bpm even 3(!) hours after the static set. i started my statics today with a hr of 47 bpm.
usually, even on 6 min statics, which i do almost every day for more than a week now, i don't experience anything like this and my hr normally drops back to around 60 within minutes.

i have this article from a german scientific magazin for sport science, in which it is explained that '...after longer apnea times it almost always comes to cardiac arrythmia at the end of the apnea, caused (mostly) by hypoxia. this arrythmia is more pronounced the more the dive reflex slows down the heart rate.'

i also have to say that i noticed this for the 3rd time now. the statics were 6:30, 6:24, 6:20 in those cases.

maybe it helps if i mention that i'm always well rested, well hydrated, have at least a 6 hour break after food, i follow the common advice to reload antioxidants...

my questions are:

1. why does a +6:20 static lead to this irregular heartbeat and a 6:00 static not? the effort i make is the same.
2. is this long period of arrythmia of more than 2 hours usual?
3. should i be in any way concerned? (i am somewhat already, even though i feel perfectly fine)
4. any remedy known, or is this just the way it is?

i hope somebody has some explanation for this.

thanks in advance


As an option, The Navy Experimental Diving Unit will answer any questions that you may have concerning any diving related issue. You can email them at your leisure at


I learned that you can use freedive speak with them, but its very limited, so keep it simple.

Freedive speak:
Static Apnea
Dynamic Apnea
max static

They are a very helpful bunch indeed.

Any tendency for an irregular heart beat will be amplified by an electrolyte imbalance. Are you getting enough Magnesium & Calcium & Potassium? If not, that would contribute. Too much salt and not enough Mg,Ca,K, will worsen the problem.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada

sorry, but couldn't get to that email adress. is it spelled correctly?


i know that i make an effort to take more salt since i'm in egypt and dehydration being a permanent issue. maybe i overdid it.

what you write sounds to me that arrythmias might actually be quite a normal occurence.
could you maybe tell me wether there might be any complications resulting from this and is this simply caused by overtraining (?) and can be avoided by regular off days (no statics)?
my schedule the last 2 weeks consists of 1 hour of statics, 1 hour of apnea walks, 1 1/2 hours freediving, running every second day.
i only really push it in statics though. i also don't feel overtrained at all.


the thing that still concerns me most is the fact that now, after 12 hours (!) after that static my heartrate seems to finally get back to regular beats and regular bp.

anyway: thanx for your replies, you already took a bit of concern off my shoulders.




Hello Roland,
The heart arrhythmias are frequent in apneists, the main causes are considered:
Subendocardic Ischemia (inadequate perfusion of the internal layer of the heart)
Heart dilation (that is important in the disciplines that involve immersion, but can be of importance also in the static for the redistribution of blood toward the thorax).
Immersion in cold water (for increase in vagal tone)
Training (The trained apneists has a bigger vagal tone).
Additionally we have the hipoxia, the acidosis and, like mention it Fattah, the electrolytic imbalances. If you are a healthy person, with a feeding and adecuate hydrate, the electrolytic dysfunctions should not be a problem.
The question is, this arrhytmias can be dangerous?.
The arrhythmias more frequent in apneistas are:
Bradyarrhythmias (slow arrhythmias) as the junctional rythms that take to extreme bradicardias and the taquyarrhythmias (fast arrhythmias) they are mainly ventricular and supraventricular extrasystoles(it depends if they originate in auricles or ventricles). The studies of Ferrigno and Ferreti, have shown that these arrhythmias are momentary and they don't alter hemodynamically the apneist, neither they have any pathological meaning.
In fact my brother has suffered in several occasions taquiarritmias when he makes apneas over 7 '. His arrhytmias vanish after a rest period.
I find strange that you have symptoms up to 12 hours after the static apneas.
I recommend you that you consult to a Cardiologist and you explain to him the conditions in that arrhythmias have occured, so that it discards other causes of arrhythmias that can be potenciated by breath-hold. The fact that they are not always presented with times of similar apnea is it what makes me think in another mechanism. The ideal thing will be to take an electrocardiografic Holter carried out during the static apnea, to determine if the symptoms are related with an specific arrhythmia.
The immediate risks of these arrhythmias are the syncope, another reason to train accompanied, and while it is not persistent there are not long term problems.
Do you have another symptom, like fainting, dizziness or something else?
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Reactions: immerlustig
thanx, frank, for that detailed explanation.

no, i don't have other symptoms, to the best of my knowledge.

i'll be supplementing the elements eric mentioned plus i try to get a check done by the only one diving doc i the area. surely there's an EKG around (and hopefully my diving insurance can be bothered, too).

the time of 12 hours, and in my case it was a 'fast' arrythmia, seems way too much. in those 2 other cases that i've noticed that i had the arythmia for 30min in one case and 3 hours in another case. there is about 1 month in between those 3 statics and long periods of low intensity static training, 5-12 days.


the address is correct, I copied and pasted it from the original email.

i received this reply from www.scuba-doc.com :
ernest campbell, MD wrote:

Here is an answer from one of our consultants:

"What he is experiencing is physiology. Hypoxia causes dysrhythmias
and his post-episode problems are probably an indication that there is
real damage going on at a tissue level. The diving reflex enhances the
effect. Why his personal set-point is 6:20 I have no clue and yes it
unusual to have dysrhythmias for hours after a breath-hold.

What he is doing is high risk and I strongly recommend against it. "

Best regards:

Ern Campbell, MD

i'm waiting for an appointment for an eeg/ekg. maybe that will clear things uyp for me.


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