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Is my wife unable to dive? Paraesophageal hernia

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine' started by grey2112, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. grey2112

    grey2112 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New Port Richey FL
    Found out a few years ago by accident that my wife has a paraesophageal hernia. It has never bothered her or given her any problems. She has no reflux, no belching, no issues.

    Recently she said she wanted to take up diving after having snorkled for a few years. She is an animal when it comes to diving down to 10-12 feet for scallops and has never had a problem after a few hours of this.

    So she's halfway through her scuba cert for basic OW when the instructor asks her to get a doctor's assessment/waiver signed due to her medical conditions. I have looked up online in various places and it appears that having a paraesophageal hernia is a HUGE contraindication for diving. Even though she never plans to dive deeper than 50-60 feet, I'm now worried that she won't be able to dive - and honestly don't know if she should given what I've read. Just how serious of an issue is this and will she be basically SOL unless she gets the hernia repaired?

    She's going to be heartbroken if she can't dive :(
  2. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
    You should post this in the medical section. There are real doctors that post there.
  3. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    A paraesophageal hernia ought to be repaired pretty much when diagnosed. They are not benign and the clinical syndrome if the stomach gets torsed in the hernia is not pretty.

    I wouldn't worry about diving. I'd get the hernia fixed because it ought to be fixed.
  4. grey2112

    grey2112 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New Port Richey FL
    Sorry, I tried to find it but must have overlooked it.

    ---------- Post added September 24th, 2013 at 11:34 PM ----------

    None of her doctors (her regular and her GI doctor) recommended surgery to fix it - she had a CT Abdomen done, an Upper GI, and even though the hernia was 13 cm transverse, there was no recommendation for surgery due to no pain, symptoms, GERD, reflux, etc.
  5. Pedro Burrito

    Pedro Burrito Moderator Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Boussens, Canton de Vaud, Suisse

    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    Moved from Basic to Diving Medicine
  6. grey2112

    grey2112 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New Port Richey FL
    Question, just in case she's unable to do regular diving.

    Would she be able to freedive with this hernia?
  7. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member

    Hi Grey2112,

    I concur with TSandM.

    Paraesophageal hernia is a rather more worrisome condition than inguinal or sliding hiatal types and can have very serious consequences, scuba or no.

    Even in the absence of "pain, symptoms, GERD, reflux, etc," this type of hernia can become incarcerated, a possibility that may be increased by certain positions assumed during scuba, and even rupture with the expansion of trapped gas upon ascent from a dive.

    The affected individual may wish to make her treating doctors aware that she is a diver. She or they may contact DAN for professional diving medicine advice if deemed prudent --> (919) 684-2948)/https://www.diversalertnetwork.org/?a=medicemail

    Best regards.


    This is educational only and does not constitute or imply a doctor-patient relationship. It is not medical advice to you or any other individual, and should not be construed as such.
  8. grey2112

    grey2112 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New Port Richey FL
    Thanks, guys. We've made the difficult decision to stop her training and consider seriously getting her hernia repaired early next year as long as the doctors agree that this is a prudent decision. Then she'll revisit the desire to dive. We don't want to take ANY chances with her health.
    herbdb likes this.

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