The maximum diving depth of the free diver is mainly determined by the ratio of the total lung capacity (TLC) of the lung to the residual volume (RV). Since free-diving depth is dependent on the tolerable compression of the lungs, until the middle of the 1950s diving doctors believed that free diving to beyond 40 meters depth led to lung trauma. The blood shift causes expansion of the lungs capillary volume resulting in a reduction of the residual volume and thus to an increase of the maximum possible depth. A redistribution of about 1.53 liters of blood to the pulmonary blood vessels has been shown.
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