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Posted : April 8, 2014


I was wondering what the guidelines were with regards to diving following pulmonary embolus?

I was diagnosed 6 weeks ago with bilateral PE and am now on subsequent oral anticoagulants. I am certainly not considering diivng at the moment but wondered what the guidelines were long term with regards to diving after PEs. Is this possible and if so are there any precautions I'd need to take?

The cause of my bilateral PEs is not yet known, I am to have further tests in 2 months time once hopefully my body has recovered. My only risk factor was the contraceptive pill. I appreciate the doctor will be able to advise on what I can/can't do at that appointment but I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice you can offer with regards to diving.
Many thanks :-)
Posted : April 15, 2014
Thanks for the query and apologies for the delayed reply.

Once the PE's have resolved then some assessment of lung function needs to be performed, but if this is satisfactory and you are otherwise well, then diving might be possible.

The other issue is whether you are going to be taking oral anticoagulants long-term, as these can have implications. For example, diving with warfarin does pose some risks. Bleeding from any source will be exacerbated if the blood is thinner than normal. Possible bleeding sources include coral cuts, nosebleeds, ruptured blood vessels in the ear (due to forceful or unsuccessful equalising), bruising around the soft tissues of the eyes (as a consequence of mask squeeze), and, in the case of spinal decompression sickness, spinal cord blood vessels.

So you need to be assessed once the situation has become clearer, preferably by a doctor with diving medicine experience.

Hope that helps

Dr O
Answer provided by Dr Oliver Firth
Dr Ollie Firth
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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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