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Diving with Medical Condition PFO

Discussion in 'Divers with Disabilities' started by dhkalb, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. Dr. Doug Ebersole

    Dr. Doug Ebersole ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    No, my recommendations are the same today as back then as there is no new data to suggest a new approach. I still feel recreational divers who are found incidentally to have a PFO can safely dive. They, like all divers, should practice conservative diving with slow ascents, safety stops, etc. On the other hand, if a diver has had multiple "unexpected" DCS events and is found to have a large PFO, I feel it is reasonable (though admittedly controversial in the medical community) to offer closure to those divers. I have personally closed about 25 divers with multple "unexpected" DCS events and, anecdotally, they are doing well. However, these are still anecdotes and not data. What we need is good research information which is what Dr. Denoble and I are doing with the DAN-sponsored PFO study.
    lv2dive, TSandM and uncfnp like this.
  2. MooreaMike

    MooreaMike Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Michigan, USA
    I am also wondering if there are any adaptive steps which should be taken, such as depth limits, bottom times, enriched air recommendations, etc.??
  3. Dr. Doug Ebersole

    Dr. Doug Ebersole ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    Diving conservatively is always a good idea, especially with a known PFO. The problem is the bubbles, not the PFO itself. Anything you can do to decrease nitrogen bubble formation is a good idea -- no decompression diving, rich nitrox mixes (as allowed by MOD), prolonged safety stops, etc.
  4. pancakes74

    pancakes74 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Portland, OR
    I'm so glad to find this thread. I was also recently diagnosed with a PFO (grade 5+ after valsalva, 0 at rest). I'm going in for a TEE to make sure it's not an ASD but my cardio suspects it's just a PFO. He did advise me not to dive unless I had it repaired but after doing some further reading I don't see any reason to have the procedure done.. or to stop diving. I was just certified in April and will only be going a few times per year during our Maui vacations. You can't keep a mermaid out of the water :wink:
  5. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    Pancakes74. Curious why you were checked for a PFO.

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