Medical Forum
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Question
Posted : September 29, 2006
Hi - About three years ago I suffered an episode of SVT (very fast heart rate 150bpm +) which required reversing in A&E. I had tests following this which showed my cardiac health was good (heart scan, blood pressure, blood and urine tests etc) and ruled out thyroid problems. Since then I passed a diving medical and have earned my PADI OW certificate / been diving (mostly confined water but occaisional trips abroad) without any problems. However, two weeks ago I had a second attack of SVT which again needed reversing. I have been given Atenolol (only to be used in the event of an attack) but reasured that my 'normal' BP is fine and I am healthy. Should I stop diving, do I need another medical and as I have suffered from this again would it exclude me automatically from passing a diving medical. As I say this has happened only twice in 3 years and has been reversed relatively easily wth drugs in hospital.

Answer
Posted : September 29, 2006
Hi there. This is a tricky one, as symptomatic SVT underwater can be dangerous, especially if those symptoms are dizziness or fainting. It's reassuring that all your tests were normal but if these attacks come on unpredictably then there's a distinct possibility of one occurring underwater. In addition atenolol can be a problem as it blocks the heart's normal response to exercise (limiting the heart rate). You would certainly need another medical and the dive doc would need to be very certain that if an SVT did occur whilst diving you would not be at risk.
Answer provided by Dr Oliver Firth
Dr Ollie Firth
Additional Comment

Posted : September 29, 2006 by - hehound
Thanks for the very swift response Doc - one more quick question

In your opinion would this automatically exclude me from passing the medical now / are there any options to fix the condition (the doctors I have spoken to have advised since it has happened so infrequently / may not happen again and is so easily controlled that I might as well just 'live with it'? I'd rather not spend the money on a 2nd medical if I'm only guaranteed the disapointment of being told I've got to give up my hobby.
Additional Comment

Posted : October 2, 2006 by -
It would not absolutely mean you would fail the medical,
best see the dive doc
Yours
dr j
Disclaimer:
The views expressed by Dr Firth & Dr Jules are their own and the publishers accept no liability for the advice and views expressed by Dr Firth , Dr Jules, or other users, which are provided as a general service to divers. Users are warned that secondary posts are the views of other users and may not be medically correct.
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