'
Health & Diving
The Heart & Diving

The Heart & Diving

Structural Anomalies of the Heart: Introduction

"Divers who suffer decompression sickness have a patent foramen ovale (PFO) prevalence twice that of the population in general."

Having healthy heart valves is essential if your heart is to properly pump and circulate blood throughout your body. Some people are born with structural anomalies in their heart valves or in the walls. Many such disorders are diagnosed early in life and corrected, restoring the affected individuals' exercise capacity and enabling them to dive safely. However, some inborn structural disorders, like a condition known as patent foramen ovale, may not become obvious until after an affected individual has taken up diving — and may result in an increased risk of certain diving injuries. In addition, some people are impacted later in life by acquired valvular damage that may affect their fitness to dive.
More Questions? Ask a DAN Medic