Hypertension screening of commercial divers from an occupational medicine perspective

Alejandro Garbino, Robert W. Sanders, Charles H. Mathers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Hypertension is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world: in the United States, it affects one-third of the adult population. Most cases are primary hypertension - with no identified cause - and significantly increase risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. At NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), there is a cadre of professional divers who provide underwater support during extravehicular activity training (EVAs, commonly referred to as "spacewalks") for astronauts. The NBL occupational health program requires regular "work-site" physical exams, including blood pressure checks, on at least a weekly basis. Although some blood pressures measured during such regular checks were elevated, the diagnosis and management of blood pressure was outside the scope of that occupational medicine program. As a result, there was no protocol to analyze and manage asymptomatic elevated blood pressure if and when it warranted physician follow-up. We therefore analyzed the blood pressure data from all divers in 2015, vetted the worksite physical and developed a referral pathway to ensure divers have access to effective management of their blood pressure while minimizing impact of such a program on daily operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-139
Number of pages7
JournalUndersea and Hyperbaric Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Blood pressure
  • Divers
  • Hypertension
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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