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Title: Diving with pre-existing medical conditions
Austin Authors: Lippmann, J;Taylor, David McD ;Stevenson, C;Williams, J;Mitchell, SJ
Affiliation: Divers Alert Network Asia-Pacific, Ashburton, Victoria, Australia
School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia
Emergency Department, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Department of Anaesthesiology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Issue Date: Sep-2017
Date: 2017-09
Publication information: Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine 2017; 47(3): 180-190
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: This is the second report based on a survey of Divers Alert Network Asia-Pacific (DAN AP) members who dive with cardiovascular and respiratory conditions and diabetes. It examines the medical management of the divers' conditions, any diving modifications used to mitigate the risk and outcomes. METHODOLOGY: An online cross-sectional survey was sent to 833 divers who had declared a targeted medical condition when applying for DAN AP membership between July 2009 and August 2013. RESULTS: Two-hundred-and-sixty-eight respondents (32%) provided sufficient information on their conditions to be included in the analyses. These included ischaemic heart disease (31), arrhythmias (20), cardiac septal defects (31), other cardiac conditions (10), hypertension (127), diabetes (25), asthma (40) and pneumothorax (5). Forty-nine per cent had sought specialist diving medical advice about their condition and 23% reported modifying their diving practices to mitigate their risk. The cohort had completed 183,069 career dives, 57,822 of these since being diagnosed with their medical condition. There were 27 individuals who reported having decompression illness (25 of whom were subsequently diagnosed with a persistent foramen ovale), and two individuals who experienced an arrhythmia during diving. CONCLUSIONS: Some DAN AP members are diving with medical conditions which could potentially impact the safety of their diving. A minority modified their diving practices to mitigate the risk of their condition and approximately half sought specialist diving medical advice. The incidence of diving-related problems precipitated by known and managed pre-existing health conditions seems low but further studies of larger cohorts and incorporating fatality data would be necessary to confirm this. These results are limited by the 32% response rate and potential for bias towards selection of those most careful with their health.
Journal: Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine
PubMed URL:
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Asthma
Fitness to dive
Scuba divers
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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