Failed Spirometry Test :(

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Raz2097, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Raz2097

    Raz2097 Angel Fish

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    Hi guys,

    I recently booked my Open Water Certification Course and was told I needed to get a Dive Medical. Today I went to the doctor and went through the Spirometry Test. I was told that I have Mild Restrictions and that I cannot go diving now. They suggested I go see a specialist to get checked out and see what they say about the situation. So this coming Thursday I am now booked in to see a specialist. I want to dive so badly. This is something I've wanted my whole life and to be told that I cant do it is a real kick in the teeth. I'm 19, fit and I have never had any chronic problems in my life. I also got an X-ray today and was told that I have a bit of bronchial thickness but other than that my lungs are clear and healthy.

    Just wondering whether anyone has any advice for me as this is really disappointing news.

    Any help would be great.

    Cheers

    Raz2097
     
  2. knowone

    knowone  

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    Type Dr Vanessa HALLER into your computer machine.
     
  3. Dirty-Dog

    Dirty-Dog Deleted by Mod Staff ScubaBoard Supporter

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    You don't specifically say, but it sounds from what you wrote as if you might have some degree of asthma or chronic bronchitis. If this is the case, you're not necessarily ineligable for SCUBA training. You need to see a pulmonologist who is familiar with dive issues. If your restrictions can be treated effectively enough to allow you to have a normal pulmonary function test (PFT) then you're able to dive. As I recall the DAN recommendations, you can dive on a given day, so long as your restriction is well enough controlled that on that day you could pass a PFT.

    Any sort of airway restriction is a serious matter when you're diving, since you would be prone to air trapping and barotrauma. I'd suggest you contact DAN and ask for a referall to an experienced dive Dr in your area.
     
  4. Raz2097

    Raz2097 Angel Fish

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    I've never had asthma or any type of chronic illness in my life.
     
  5. scoobydrew

    scoobydrew Scuba Instructor

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    Hey there

    You have to be carefull with lungs and dry compressed air, no matter how hard the kick in the teeth is to swallow. However, that said a doctor that specialises in SCUBA related medical issues would be best qualified to give you the definitive answer, you didn't mention if the doc you went to was a standard GP or a specialist.

    I don't know what DAN in australia are like but if I was back home in the UK I'd definately contact them (diver assist network) as they should be able to refer you tom someone clued up enough to give you a final decision.
     
  6. Marek K

    Marek K Loggerhead Turtle

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    So the doctor who examined you was a general practitioner? I'm surprised, because I don't think your average GP here in the States would be doing spirometry.

    What kind of physician is the specialist you're being referred to? I agree with scoobydrew above -- in your case, you need a detailed exam by a physician who specializes in dive medicine. I'd guess those guys would also tend to all be pulmonologists, but you'd need someone who specifically understands diving.

    I seem to remember that Australia is pretty strict and conservative about medical clearances for diving.

    Good luck!
     
  7. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member Staff Member

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    Hi Raz2097,

    The first matter is not to get ahead of yourself. Your upcoming appointment with a pulmonary specialist should leave you in a much better position to make decisions about future SCUBA.

    It is good that you are fit and have had no known history of pulmonary disorder. However, this does not mean you cannot have such and your spirometry results appear to suggest airway disease of some sort. The chest x-ray reading of possible bronchial thickening needs to be further investigated. A minor or mild degree of diffuse bronchial wall thickening is sometimes noted in normal healthy individuals. But, it's also seen in some chronic airway diseases, including chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchiectasis, asthma and bronchiolitis. A high resolution CT scan, and possibly bronchial-provocation testing and bronchoscopy, should yield all necessary information.

    Best of luck.

    DocVikingo
     
  8. scubadiver888

    scubadiver888 Divemaster

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    Hi Raz,

    You don't mention which agency you are using to get your Open Water training. If it was PADI, the shop has you fill out a medical survey with all YES/NO questions. If you answer YES to any of the questions the dive shop must send you to a doctor to get medical clearance.

    Did you fill out such a survey? Did you indicate something which hints at a potential medical issue?

    The reason for the survey is just to be safe. The dive shop is not typically staffed with medical personnel. If you answer YES to any of the questions, the dive shop will ask you to see a doctor. The doctor then determines if you are okay to dive. In many cases, if you see a doctor with dive knowledge, they will understand why the condition can have serious consequences when diving. They would also know how to control the condition (if possible) to mitigate the risks.

    This is why the recommendation to contact Diver's Alert Network (DAN) for a referral to a doctor in your area is your best course of action.
     
  9. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member Staff Member

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    RAZ lives in Oz.

    DAN Asia-Pacific (DAN DOC)
    DAN SEAP

    Regards,

    DocVikingo
     
  10. Hawkwood

    Hawkwood MSDT Staff Member

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    Check out the location of the OP - Austraila. A medical is a requirement.
     
  11. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

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    This is very odd. Given your lack of age and symptoms Id have to wonder about other diagnoses which could be more unusual and more difficult to diagnose than asthma or bronchitis. I'd highly recommend a pulmonology second opinion for you.
    For you to have abnormal spirometry and xray, I would suspect repeat bouts of asthma symptoms, bronchitis or heavy smoking. Without, at age 19, I'd say something else could be the culprit.
    Find out what it is, get to the bottom of it. It is impossible to say if you can dive because this doesn't sound like typical asthma at all.
    Also, most FP doctors and their staff aren't all that great at giving/ interpreting spirometry. The tests that are given at the urgent care clinics I work at are so subpar as to be a waste of time, mostly because the Medical Assistants are completely untrained.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2010
  12. scubadiver888

    scubadiver888 Divemaster

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    Hawkwood, I noticed the original poster's location was Australia. I was unaware that a medical is a requirement in Australia.
     
  13. scubadiver888

    scubadiver888 Divemaster

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  14. Raz2097

    Raz2097 Angel Fish

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    Thanks for your input guys. I really appreciate it. The doctor who I first went to see was a GP who does Dive Medicals. She was the first to say I have a mild restriction and that if I wanted to pursue the issue that I should go see a pulmonary specialist to get a proper chest exam etc. I also went and saw my dive instructor and he said that he has had a few people come to him with this same issue and once they have gone and seen the specialist everything is fine for them to dive. So at the moment that's what I'm clinging on to.

    Raz
     
  15. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many.

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    What seems really odd to me is the use of the term "restrictive". Most bronchospastic conditions would be obstructive lung disease, not restrictive. Are you very overweight? That might show up as a mild restrictive deficit.

    All in all, if you have abnormal pulmonary function testing AND an abnormal x-ray, I think I'd be very happy that your desire to dive caused you to get some testing that found a problem before it became symptomatic.
     
  16. Raz2097

    Raz2097 Angel Fish

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    I'm not overweight. I weigh 80 kgs. I recently quit smoking. I'm guessing this is my own fault if smoking has something to do with it
     
  17. Akimbo

    Akimbo ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I have heard dozens of stories about people in North America and Europe performing Spirometry tests that were clueless on how to work the machine — commercial divers get a lot of mandated diving physicals. There are not a lot of these tests done outside of pulmonologist's offices. There was a story at a recent freediving class where a person had to help the nurse figure out how to use it by reading the instructions with her.

    I hope this is just another case of incorrect readings. If not, it may prove fortunate to find an underlying problem before it becomes chronic. While you are there, see if the pulmonologist can suggest some good respiratory exercises. They make a huge improvement in freediving which is a great self-confidence builder for Scuba. Best of luck.
     
  18. Raz2097

    Raz2097 Angel Fish

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    If these issues that I'm having now are the results of my history of smoking could I then say to the specialist that because I do keep fit by running every day, go to the gym and do swimming on the weekends that things are only going to improve from here due to the fact that I have quit smoking?

    Would that be a valid point?

    Because I do not have any history of chronic illness so this must be caused by my history of smoking.
     
  19. Akimbo

    Akimbo ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Smoking, genetics, pollutants, medications, allergies, normal deviations, any combination, or just a bad Spirometry test. Second opinions are almost always a good thing.

    BTW, the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. Ask the Doctor anything you want. The best part is no matter how dumb or embarrassing the question, patient confidentiality will keep it from appearing on the Internet!
     
  20. scubadiver888

    scubadiver888 Divemaster

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    If I required a medical and the form I gave my doctor asked if I AM qualified to dive and I was not qualified at that moment, she would tell me to come back when I think I'm doing better and she'd re-test me. Essentially, if I tell her I'm working on it and will improve I am really asking her to trust me. If I'm lying, it is her license on the line.
     

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