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Diving After Heart Valve Surgery

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Diving After Heart Valve Surgery

Post Number:#1  Postby Floaty » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:51 am

Hi Sifu -sifu sekalian,

A friend of mine is a heart valve surgery patient who has strong passion in diving. He wish to continue his diving after recover from the surgery but is a bit worry on the depth of dive that he can go
Wonder is there any depth limitation for diver who recovered from open heart surgery ? He prefers deep dive at about 30 - 32m ? Any problem at this depth level?

Please advice.. xie xie.
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Re: Diving After Heart Valve Surgery

Post Number:#2  Postby FireDragon » Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:52 pm

I think only his cardiologist can answer that. But as far as logic goes, if he can dive, he can dive any depth... only concern is how much he exerts underwater.

Anyway, he should get the go-ahead from a qualified medical professional.
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Re: Diving After Heart Valve Surgery

Post Number:#3  Postby xr250dude » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:45 pm

It all depends on how compromised was his heart due to prior valve dysfunction. If there was any stage of cardiac failure, he should only be snorkelling, in my own experience, based locally, its unusual for any open heart patient not to have some sequelae. In the rare exception he has "normal" cardiac function and that to me is being able to do Bruce 4 on an exercise threadmill stress test he should limit his depth to 60 feet, at 90 feet in the event you went into cardiac standstill, you die, even if your buddy is a doctor.
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Re: Diving After Heart Valve Surgery

Post Number:#4  Postby divedoc » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:24 pm

Salam everyone

Regarding the open heart-valve surgery, i would advise that the individual be thoroughly scrutinized by his cardiologist before he is considered fit to dive. There are two main issues for this kind of surgery, mainly anti-coagulation, and risk of valve leakage.

For the first issue, patients with valve replacement done will need lifelong antiocoagulation meds to prevent blood from clotting, and this is especially so for prosthetic heart valves. And it is a known fact that divers are exposed to minor trauma or even, barotrauma while diving, and this predisposes to bleeding. With anticoagulation meds, this risk becomes greater, due to the thinning effect on the blood by the medication. A diver needs to be aware of this increased risk.

Risk of valve leakage, on the other hand, occurs due to the high-output stresses put upon the prosthetic valves. Because diving is considered a strenuous physical activity, it will cause further stress to the new valve, and because of higher pressure and turbulence (due to increased cardiac output) underwater, this may in turn case the valve to leak (regurgitation).

My advise is that patients who have just underwent open-heart valve surgery, to have a recuperating period for at least a year before thinking of diving again. Even so, he/she should firstly undergo a thorough cardiology examination which involves a exercise stress test to determine the current state of cardiac function.

My two cents' worth...
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