Tuesday, February 15, 2005


See previous newsletters in the Archives



In the Winter 2004 Issue of the Journal of Undersea & Hyperbaric Medicine we noted in our last newsletter a study on chamber attendants showing that there is a significant decompression stress with venous gas embilism found in most hyperbaric chamber attendants. The study was done after one of the attendants developed neurological DCI. There is a discussion of measures that can be taken to reduce the incidence of this side effect of HBO treatment. Venous gas embolism in chamber attendants after hyperbaric exposure. http://snipurl.com/cstt
Risberg J, Englund M, Aanderud L, Eftedal O, Flook V, Thorsen E.
Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen.

Dr. Ben Zwart has written us about his experiences with this problem during
his five years at the Brooks AFB chambers. His note with some excellent
links is printed below:

For some unknown reason, chamber attendants seem to dislike breathing oxygen
during treatment dives, and for some weird reason believe that the
physiology of dry diving is the same as the physiology of wet diving (which
I do NOT believe). They therefore base their decompression requirements on
the US Navy Standard Air Decompression Tables - - which, to my way of
thinking, significantly underestimates the actual safe IO decompression
requirements. After a year of following the standard protocols, I found that
a little added caution paid big dividends during my 5 years at the Brooks
AFB chambers. During my tenure there, I required all inside tenders to
increase their oxygen intake during our wound care dives, as well as all of
the US Navy treatment tables. As a frequent inside observer myself, I noted
a significant decrease in post-dive fatigue when using the increased oxygen
breathing times.

These recommendations are all based on (surprise) Nobendem calculations
using Safety Enhancements of 55 and 65 as described in the Nobendem
Download. Generalized tables, including recommendations for swapping inside
observers in mid-treatment can also be found at the Brooks AFB website. They
have been standardized and used successfully at Brooks since 1998.

Oxygen Decompression Tables for Inside Observers: Dry diving is
physiologically different than wet diving, as tissue bed perfusion, among
other things, is different when buoyed up in water than when under the
differential effects of 1G in the dry chamber. This fact was noted in 1963
when Dr. Bruce Bassett developed the USAF Diving Tables in an attempt to
decrease the DCS hit rate in dry dive IOs. The attached tables were derived
from Nobendem at depths of 30, 45, 60, 165 FSW with Safety Enhancements of
55 and 65. Repetitive Group Indicators have been calculated which are
compatible with the USN table 7-4. (in Acrobat format).


Oxygen Deco Tables for IOs during Fire Suppression Equipment Tests:

Every 6 months, multiplace chamber units should check their water deluge
fire extinguisher system. This involves a descent to 165 for 2-3 min at
depth, an ascent to 60 FSW where the test is repeated, followed by final
ascent and Oxygen decompression. The attached tables specify Nobendem
derived Deco Tables based on Time At Depth for each segment, and include the
Repet Group for the dive. (in Acrobat format).




DAN Executive VP and COO Dan Orr Elected to DEMA Board

DAN Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Orr has been
elected to serve on the 2005 Diving Equipment and Manufacturing Association
(DEMA) Board of Directors.

"I am honored to join this board," Orr said upon learning of his victory in
mid-January. "I always have been a strong supporter of DEMA, and believe we
as a board have an opportunity to be a leading voice to promote positive
change in the scuba diving industry. DEMA must be a strong and responsive
trade association for all industry stakeholders if we are to grow our sport
and our industry."

In promoting his candidacy, Orr noted that his long experience in the dive
industry, coupled with his contributions at Divers Alert Network, made him
well suited to serve on the DEMA Board. His stated goals in his position are
as follows:

. Identifying, developing and implementing effective and creative efforts to
improve acquisition and retention of divers;

. Continuing to find ways to improve the DEMA Show so that exhibitors,
attendees and the association reap the maximum benefit;

. Finding ways to develop and use effective metrics, using the latest
applied market research, to collect and disseminate important demographic
data for use by our association and stakeholders;

. Promoting a positive conservation ethic that fosters responsible use of
our natural resources through the promotion of global educational outreach
programs; and

. Being ready and prepared to respond quickly and decisively to legislative
issues that affect the diving industry.

A scuba diver for more than 40 years, Orr has held membership and leadership
positions in many notable diving organizations such as NAUI, PADI, ACUC,
YMCA, NASE, IANTD, UHMS, NACD, AUAS, the Institute of Diving, the Our
World-Underwater Scholarship Society and the Explorers Club. He is the
recipient of numerous awards such as the NOGI Award for Sports/Education,
the Leonard Greenstone Award for Diving Safety, the Our World-Underwater
Award, Beneath the Sea's Diver of the Year. He was named Chairman of the
Board of the Historical Diving Society in 2004. He was one of the first DAN
members and DAN volunteers. He became a DAN employee in 1991 as Director of
Training responsible for the development and implementation of the DAN
Oxygen Program.

Orr attended his first DEMA Board meeting on Feb. 1, 2005.



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Lost your copy of the newsletter? See the latest at
http://tenfootstop.blogspot.com or at http://scuba-doc.com/archives.html .



Bone & Joint Self-Grading Quiz http://www.scuba-doc.com/bonequiz.htm
Check your answers at http://www.scuba-doc.com/bone.htm



Medications, Drugs and Substance Abuse Guidelines, databases, Substance abuse, drug chart http://www.scuba-doc.com/drugsdiv.htm



Dive Industry Mourns The Loss Of Shawn Beaty of Dive Training Magazine http://snipurl.com/cspj


>From Larry "Harris" Taylor, PhD

Underwater Hockey Tourist: http://www.pucku.org/uwht/

Seahorse & Sea Dragon: http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/seahorse/

Sharks-Hammerhead: http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/hammerhead/

Rec.Scuba: http://www.news2mail.com/rec/scuba.html

USAA: http://usaa.freedivers.com/

Mermaids on the Web: http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/mermaids/

Tsunami! Info Resource: http://www.geophys.washington.edu/tsunami/intro.html


Huskies' top scorer gets hyperbaric treatment



Trouble with bubbles in your body


Find nearest AED, learn how to use it

Devices are simple and successful, but seconds count


EDTC Fitness to Dive Standards

Evaluation of glucose monitoring devices in the hyperbaric chamber.


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in the Pediatric Patient: The Experience of
the Israel Naval Medical Institute -- Waisman et al. 102 (5): 53 --


NATO Challenged by International Coalition to Reduce Sonar Harm to Whales
and Other Marine Species



Performance Freediving Runs 5th Freediving Research Study at Simon
Fraser University


Systematic review of hyperbaric oxygen in the management of chronic wounds.


MayoClinic.com - First-Aid Guide


Health aspects of diving in ENT medicine. Part I: Diving associated


Tinnitus -- Hannan et al. 330 (7485): 237 -- BMJ



Visit, register and participate in our diving medicine bulletin board. http://scuba-doc.com/scubaclinic/


Ruptured TM and Doc's ProPlugs

I have a hx of barotrauma with elevation changes and had a t-tube placed in
my left TM in aug. I started to take a scuba class and was released by my
ENT and he removed the tube in his office 2 weeks ago. I had problems with
the descent and equalizing and tried the docs proplugs which I thought
helped on Sunday. I had a f/u appt. with my ENT for a tympanogram on Monday
and found out that I had ruptured my right TM. He has no hx with scuba
diving medicine and told me that I will not be able to do my open water
dives. I went back to the dive shop and was fitted at 2 sizes smaller for
the docs proplugs and they are on special order. Do they really help? Any
suggestions? I really don't want to give up at this yet!!!

See discussion at this address:



Dive Medical Training In Canada?



Nasal Operation?



Gingko biloba and diving?




From Jolie Bookspan, PhD re 'The Ab Revolution'

A study on the training method that I developed called "The Ab Revolution"
shows that it helps low back pain more than conventional core training and

This study will be published in "Medicine and Science in Sports and
Exercise," and I will present it at the national conference of the American
College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) this May.

There is info on my web site about how the Ab Revolution works:
This month, Ab Revolution  classes run at Temple University center city.
Other workshops will run at other locations later this year. After this
semester, we are changing the Temple classes to a single-session workshop
format to accommodate the number of requests from "out-of-towners" who want
the information, but can't make the six week session to learn the method.
Hope to see you at a workshop some day.
Good Things,

Study abstract:
Functional Core Retraining Superior To Conventional And Pilates Core
Training In Remediating Low Back Pain
Jolie Bookspan. Temple University, Neck and Back Pain Sports Medicine,
Philadelphia, PA.

Core training is postulated to increase back support, lessening strain and
pain syndromes, yet chronic pain persists in many patients with strong core
musculature. Moreover, posture and ergonomics, known related to low back
pain, remain unchanged after standard core training.

PURPOSE: To compare a functional core training method, The Ab Revolution,
with two common core strengthening methods on participants with low back
METHODS: Ninety-six participants (40 M 56 F age 22 - 77) with chronic low
back pain (pain > six months, free of non-orthopedic origin) participated in
either a functional core training class (Ab Revolution, N=26, M10 F16),
Pilates (N=23, M5 F18), or standard core strengthening exercise (N=25, M14
F11). Participants enrolled in university and community exercise classes. A
control group (N=22, M11 F11) attended no classes. Classes met 1h/wk for six
weeks. Ab Revolution training consisted of specific core positioning
exercises for life activity. Pilates and conventional core training was
standard flexion-based floor exercise. Outcome measures were self-assessment
of low back pain at conclusion of the six-week exercise program, and at
three, six and 12 months post. Data were analyzed using Chi-Square, with
non-parametric sign test to examine difference between groups.
RESULTS: Significant reduction of low back pain in Ab Revolution over
Pilates, conventional core training, and control groups (P<.0001) with no gender difference. At the end of the six-week exercise, 14 increased low back pain (Ab Revolution 0, control 1, conventional 6, Pilates 7). Three months post, the number with increased pain was twelve: (Ab Revolution 0, control 1, conventional 6, Pilates 5). A category was added for participants from Pilates and conventional core training who developed new neck pain following the flexion-centered exercise programs. CONCLUSIONS: Ab Revolution training reduces chronic low back pain in male and female participants. The mechanism seems to lie in functional muscle retraining to actively reduce lordosis with crossover to daily activity. In this study, Pilates and conventional core exercise had little effect on pain indices, with added result of increasing cervical spine flexion strain. Increasing repositioning of core musculature through functional exercise, not increasing strength through exercise, seems to be key in resolving low back pain. Publication: Bookspan, J. Functional Core Retraining Superior To Conventional And Pilates Core Training In Remediating Low Back Pain. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Volume 37:5 Supplement. May, 2005.


Question from Dive Operator: Hi guys, *I have a diver who is a dive master in his late 50's been diving for 20 years who tells me he has an enlarged heart. reduced function, A fib without side effects and he takes high blood pressure medication and is well controlled. Can he dive??? he is on attenolol 100 mg lisonopril 10 mg triempterent 35mg warfarin 10 mg Captain Dave Answer by Martin Quigley, MD Dear Captain Dave, I have a number of concerns about your diver. First of all, is his capacity to perform physical exercise, An individual with an enlarged heart and reduced heart function very often has a significant reduction in his exercise capacity. While this may not be an issue in a warm, calm, tropical sea, an unexpected current or other problem may be beyond his ability to cope. Secondly, his high blood pressure must be pretty severe at it appears that he is taking three separate medications to control it. (I am guessing that triempterent is Triamterene, a diuretic that can be used as part of a drug regimen for high blood pressure.) One of the drugs he is taking, Atenelol, is a "beta-blocker", a class of drugs that limits the body's ability to react in a stressful situation or emergency. I generally try to avoid beta-blockers in divers. See https://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/article.asp?articleid=11
for further information about cardiovascular issues and diving.

Finally, warfarin (Coumadin) is a "blood-thinner" and is being given to him
to prevent stroke complications from his atrial fibrillation. However
warfarin can increase his tendency to bleed and might increase the damage
from middle-ear or pulmonary barotrauma. See
http://www.scuba-doc.com/antcoag.htm for further information.

What do I suggest? First, that he have clearance from his cardiologist to
dive. Second, that he have a cardiac exercise stress test (treadmill). As
Dr. Caruso's article referenced above states, he needs to be able to reach
"13 METS" level of exercise to indicate sufficient cardiovascular reserve to
consider diving safely, obviously without any sign of abnormal EKG.

You didn't indicate whether this diver was functioning as a "dive master"
for you, or whether that is his highest level of training. Based on the
above concerns, I would not consider that this individual is suitable to
assume responsibility for others in the water.

Other than that, if his cardiologist OKs it and he passes his stress test, I
would permit him to continue to dive.

Martin M. Quigley, MD

Writer's Credentials: Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and
Reproductive Endocrinology. Trained in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine by
NOAA and UHMS. Current PADI Instructor. Certified Cave and Trimix Diver.
Faculty Member at DAN's 2001 and 2005 Dive Medicine Courses.

See also our web pages at http://www.scuba-doc.com/hrtprb.html .



Flying between dive sites

I have been asked to organise a week long SCUBA diving expedition to Fiji,
with the aim of using seaplanes to access the remote dive sites in the
archipelago. I was hoping you could let me know of any safety concerns and
what the current guidelines are on flying after diving.

Logistically all flights can be kept to within 100mts of the surface, back
up boats will be used as top cover and safety equipment will be on board,
but it is more the physiological concern I have to address to know what the
safe operating parameters would be?

Thanking you in advance,


It would appear from the information in the attached file that your divers
would have no problem if the altitude is maintained as you state.

See http://www.scuba-doc.com/fad.pdf


Best regards:

Ernie Campbell, MD
Diving Medicine Online


Subject: pool instruction while pregnant

Hello, I'm a PADI instructor that is anticipating a busy summer of teaching
in confined water that is no deeper than 15 feet. I am currently 16 weeks
pregnant and have decided to refrain from open water diving during this
pregnancy. However, I wonder if frequent pool dives can pose any threats to
a fetus.


I feel that you are wise to not do any open water teaching while pregnant.
We don't really know, but shallow diving after the first trimester (three
months) would impose very little in the way of decompression stress on the
fetus. There are few reports and no good studies, one way or the other.

Most diving medical sources feel that pregnant females should refrain from
diving, because the fetus is not protected from decompression problems and
is at risk of malformation and gas embolism after decompression disease. My
gut feeling is that frequent shallow dives would not impose very much risk
on the fetus, but in the final analysis - I would not certify you as 'fit to
dive' from a medico-legal point of view. In addition, from a liability point
of view, would you, as a diving instructor, give lessons to someone 16 weeks
pregnant? I doubt it.

I want you to read my web page about this and study carefully what is said
( and left unsaid). Also, note the material on DAN's web page at
http://snipurl.com/cpiv .

In addition, I am sending your question to one of our consultants, Dr.
Martin Quigley, a Gynecologist who is also a Diving Instructor.

See also our web pages at http://www.scuba-doc.com/womdiv.html .

Best regards:

Ernie Campbell, MD

>From Dr. Martin Quigley

Dr. Campbell asked me to add to his usual excellent insights. I think his
bottom line 'if you wouldn't accept a pregnant student as "fit-to-dive",
then you certainly shouldn't consider yourself as "fit-to-dive"' pretty much
says it all.

There is very little published science on pregnant women diving. Since the
RSTC and all the major training agencies (plus NOAA and the US Navy)
prohibit diving while pregnant, the data that exists dates from the late 70s
and early 80s. While the data is somewhat contradictory, there is certainly
no absolute proof that diving is either safe or harmful for the fetus. There
are some data on pregnant women treated with hyperbaric oxygen for Carbon
Monoxide poisoning that did not show any increase in fetal abnormalities,

There is a fair bit of animal data on hyperbaric exposures while pregnant.
While much of this data is rather extreme (like surfacing without
decompression), it does appear that the fetus may be more susceptible to DCI
than the mother.

Even diving to 15 fsw in confined water produces some profound physiologic
changes. For example, your blood levels of oxygen are 50% higher than on the
surface and we know that a premature infant's eyes can be damaged by
prolonged exposures to elevated oxygen. In addition, there is the
theoretical concern that a fetal "bubble" might obstruct the blood supply to
a developing organ or limb and produce profound abnormalities.

In short, there are theoretical risks of diving while pregnant, but no firm
data establishing safety (or risk) to the fetus.

But most importantly, do you want to take any risk of damage? Most pregnant
women don't smoke, don't drink alcohol, increase their vitamin intake, and
otherwise practice a healthy lifestyle. Why take any avoidable risk?

Finally, an instructor is supposed to be a role model and an example. I
would hope that you don't smoke and drink alcohol between dives even though
you could "get away" with it without significantly increasing your risks.
Since you should be telling your women students not to dive while pregnant,
you should be setting the same example.


Martin M. Quigley, MD, FACOG

Writer's Credentials: Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and
Reproductive Endocrinology. Trained in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine by
NOAA and UHMS. Current PADI Instructor. Certified Cave and Trimix Diver.
Faculty Member at DAN's 2001 and 2005 Dive Medicine Courses.


Fracture, neck of the femur, diving?

Hello I have recently suffered a break to the neck of my femur during a
skiing accident and am in need of advice as to the long term affects such an
injury could means in respect to my diving future. I have been to theatre
twice now to correct the fracture and currently have a pin and plate in
place to align the two pieces of bone. So far it has been two weeks since
the last surgery and I have been advised by the surgeon to keep the leg
(left) non weight bearing for up to 12 weeks with a reassessment at the 6
week mark. The primary concern however is the supply of blood to the head of
the femur as the break is quite close to the head and therefore limited by
the amount of tissue available to provide this supply whilst the bone is
healing. If the supply of blood is limited and the head of the femur suffers
damage bacause of this then what are the long term consequences of diving.
Will any nitrogen in bubble formation be able to force it's way to the head
and cause further damage even with a limited or non existent blood
supply..... the questions are endless and my knowledge in the matter is
limited so any info would be appreciated.

Kind Regards

Hello Diver:

Although the specter of nitrogen bubbles increasing the risk of damage to a
fracture site is often brought up in answering questions about diving after
a broken bone - there is little to no evidence that this actually occurs.

However, on the other hand, you have had two surgeries to try and maintain
proper alignment of the fracture, the last with the use of hardware. This
has got to have caused at least some disruption in the blood supply to the
surrounding area from which the femoral head receives it's blood flow. In
the condition, dysbaric osteonecrosis (DON), which usually occurs in deep
divers over a prolonged diving career - the femoral head is involved in
about 15% of the cases. One of the conjectures is that the cause of this
condition is from nitrogen bubbles blocking the blood supply. There are no
reports of DON occurring in divers who have had fractures of the femoral
head - on the contrary, just the opposite occurs - there are reports of
fractures of the femoral head in divers with DON.

I would have to say without further data to prove or disprove my
point, that you would be at greater risk from diving with a poorly
rehabilitated leg or
from unrecognized DCI than from nitrogen bubbles focusing at the healed
fracture site. Anecdotal and individual case reports are just not adequate
in advising you as to the possible long term outcome should you resume

Obviously, the leg will require complete healing in order to allow full
weight bearing for water entry and exit with heavy gear. It should
have been rehabilitated to the point that you will be capable of
satisfactory self and
buddy rescue and perform all the thousands of physical tasks required of a
dive instructor. A recorded neurological exam on a dive is a necessity, so
that by careful comparison any symptoms that could be confused with DCI
would be known about prior to diving.

I plan to send your query to other physicians who might have had some
experience dealing with similar situations. Thank you for your interesting

See also our web pages at http://www.scuba-doc.com/bone.htm

Best regards:

Ernie Campbell, MD
Diving Medicine Online

>From Prof. David Elliott

This is a difficult problem because, besides diving, one of the many causes
of femoral head necrosis is trauma and this was obviously a bad break.

Dysbaric femoral head necrosis is rare in recreational diving and the few
that I have met

- have been diving relatively deep on air (regularly to >40 m or 130 fsw),

- have stretched safe decompression procedures or

- have been mixed-gas tekkies.

But, even in this group, it still seems rare (though, as there is no regular
surveillance, this could be an underestimate).

So my opinion is that diving within the PADI envelope (or its equivalent)
would be relatively safe for instructors after a simple fractured femoral
neck. If instructing entirely within the PADI range, consider breathing
Nitrox but using it as though it is air and stick to the air tables. Safe
diving would be unlikely to contribute significantly to whether or not a
simple fracture will progress to necrosis. There is a possibility that
necrosis will follow even without diving, but the orthopaedic surgeon is the
expert for assessing that risk. Diving beyond these ill-defined limits
deserves greater caution, because these are unchartered waters.

>From Martin Quigley, MD

Agree completely with your assessment. This poor chap might end up with a
partial hip replacement, which, I guess, makes DON of the femoral head
impossible. In any case, your answers still apply. Here's a DAN comment
about diving after hip replacement:

>From Jim Chimiak, MD

As to your question, I was concerned in the actual description by the diver
in that he has been given the information that he has a poorly perfused
femoral head. Is this conjecture or does he have studies. I believe your
advice addresses this. Based on what the diver is telling you, I believe he
should refrain from diving.
If nitrogen can not be transported in the "normal " fashion than there is a
very good theoretical reason that decompression tables may not describe his
physiology as well as to others (And this assumes our decompression models
even comes close to describing the physiology). And lastly understanding
the complexities of bone decompression and DCS/DON that would occur if
decompression is performed suboptimally is not well defined. I do not know
of studies looking specifically at dive profiles that yield lower
decompression stress on bone, ie longer shallower vs deeep bounce, that may
help make the dive safer.
Lacking the information, the diver makes the choice and dives without overt
findings that are only seen incidentally at autopsy if at all or he becomes
a "defining" case report.

>From Jim Caruso, MD

I agree with Dr Campbell

We believe that altered anatomy due to an injury increases the risk of DCI
in that area because of poor blood perfusion. But much of that is based on
theoretical or anecdotal evidence.

Even though you are an instructor, your risk of DON is small. I would make
sure you are absolutely healed and rehabbed before returning to diving and I
might not push the envelope as much as I would with a good hip, but I do not
think there is a significant risk in your case. I advise divers with
artificial hips to dive after the same recovery period.

Jim Caruso, M.D.

U.S. Navy Diving Medical Officer/Flight Surgeon

DAN Consulting Physician


Subject: Hernia repair and diving?

Good Day Doc,

To start with:Thank you very much for a wonderfull dive-site!!!

I am a social scuba diver...and LOVE it!!! But only one problem,or is it? I
had a hernia/hiatus repair 3 months ago, and everything is going fine since
the operation. Is it save for me to dive,and if so, say up to a max depth of

I will also contact the Doc who did the op, but he dont know much about
diving, thats the reason I need your opinion.

Thank you very much for your time.


Pretoria,South Africa

Subject: Re: Hernia repair and diving?

Hello diver:

Thanks very much for your kind words about our web site!

Diving with a repaired hiatal hernia is certainly safer than diving with one
that has not been fixed. The problem with both situations is the air that
can be trapped in the upper part of the stomach. Air is swallowed during the
process of diving with ear clearing and this air can enlarge on ascent and
if there is no egress - then there is the possibility of rupture. Barring
wound complications, three months should be a sufficient time to heal before
diving - again depending upon whether or not you had an open operation or a
laparoscopic fundoplication.

Depending upon the type of repair that you have had and whether or not you
have had an actual hernia repair or a 'fundus wrap' - you should be able to
dive to your training depth. If either of these situations have caused you
to have any trapped air - then you should not dive at all. (The inability to
belch is an indication that you might have trapped air). A barium swallow
can often detect this situation. Also, it is the last four to six feet
before surfacing that is dangerous - not how deep you go.

My suggestion would be for you to contact or have your surgeon contact one
of the South African experts in diving medicine and get a local opinion
according to your particular surgical situation. Information about local
facilities can be obtained on my web site at
http://www.scuba-doc.com/divSA.htm .

See also our web pages at http://www.scuba-doc.com/giprbs.html

I hope this is helpful!

Ern Campbell, MD

Hi Dr. Campbell,

Thank you very much for all the info, it is indeed very helpful! Sorry, I
forgot to tell you that I had a laparoscopic fundoplication (the 5 small
cuts on belly) but like I said, everthing is going well.

I'm so glad that I can still enjoy the ocean without going to IMAX or a
videostore. You made my day!!! I will also contact the local facilities on
the website you gave me for a check-up.

Thanks again,



1. The diver is under the water. How the diver know which direction to swim
to rich the surface_
2. Why the divers feel the headache only when they dive down or swim up

3. Why the divers do not feel any preasure when diving when they wear the

Please, please could you answer my questions
Thanks very much


Hello Student:

A diver knows which way is "up" by looking at the bubbles move. Bubbles will
always enlarge as they go up.

The headaches that you describe are due to the same principle of air getting
smaller on descent and larger on ascent - Boyle's Law. This is due to the
pressure change in the sinuses and is called barotrauma. See our web pages
at http://www.scuba-doc.com/gasesprbs.html

I don't know what you mean by 'skuffander'.

Best regards:


Question re oxybutin and diving

Hi Dr. Campbell,
I have a young person (22 years old) put on oxybutnin by her family doctor
for ?overactive bladder. She wants to learn to scuba dive and I was trying
to find information on your website wrt this drugs effects with diving. I
have advised her on hte anticholinergic effects of this drug, and would
appreciate your comments. Thank you kindly.

British Physician

Hello Doctor:

Nice to hear from you again! Oxybutynin (or Ditropan) can have adverse
effects on divers early in the course of treatment, but these effects
usually wear off. The anticholinergic effects are used to ameliorate
frequency of urination due to urethrotrigonitis and bladder spasms.

Side effects include drowsiness, dizziness or blurred vision. A diver has
to have enough visual acuity to read the gauges properly. One should not
drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until the
effect is manifest - one would suppose that this includes diving. The
dizziness is postural and to reduce the risk of dizzy or fainting spells, do
not sit or stand up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. I don't
know how the weightlessness of the underwater milieu would affect this diver
but suspect that the immersion effects of central migration of blood and
fluids would counteract any postural changes of blood volume.

Alcohol can potentate the drowsiness - and again one would suppose that the
sedative effects of nitrogen at depth would be additive to the effects of
the drug.

One should avoid extreme heat (e.g., hot tubs, saunas) as Oxybutynin can
cause one to sweat less than normal. This would not be a problem with scuba
diving - unless lessons are to be given in a heated pool. Dry mouth and
thirst are usually described, but this would be a good thing as hydration is
a definite benefit to prevent decompression illness.

Although the risks seem to be few, the diver and her instructor should be
aware of the possibilities and take action should she decide to proceed with
diving. It most likely will not be enough danger to withhold her
certification as 'fit to dive'.

Warm regards:

Ernie Campbell, MD
Diving Medicine online


Subject: referral from scuba diving magazine - Diving over age 65 in

I was referred to you by the magazine regarding diving in Australia after
age 65.Diver Alert periodical had some info last year re:needing medical
clearance.I want to dive there but will not travel there unless I can find
out prior to going.

Can you shed any light on this subject for me?

Thank you in advance for any assistance


Hello Daryl:

I'm not aware of any Australian rules against diving after age 65. However,
the Australian rules are a good bit more stringent and something may have
changed since I last investigated.

Here is a web page that describes pretty well all of the things that you
will need to do in order to dive in Oz (with all the forms, etc.).

http://www.diversden.com.au/medical.htm . There is a 90 day limit on the

Let me know if this doesn't fit your case properly. Our web page on older
divers might be of some interest. http://www.scuba-doc.com/agedvn.htm

Best regards:

Ern Campbell, MD



LISA Wasdin



The latest news in this area can best be obtained by going to the respective web sites of the agencies involved. These are listed on our web page at http://scuba-doc.com/meetcrse.html .

Here are some organizations giving courses linked to the above site:
DAN -- http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/cme/events.asp
SPUMS Courses -- http://www.spums.org.au/courses.htm
Medical Seminars -- http://www.medsem.com/destination_information.html
UHMS -- http://www.uhms.org/Courses/Courses.htm
Temple University Underwater Medicine -- http://www.scubamed.com/educ.htm
EUBS -- http://www.eubs.org/
ISAM -- http://www.divingdocs.org/
NOAA -- http://www.uhms.org/Courses/NOAA01/noaa.asp
DCIEM -- http://www.dciem.dnd.ca/publications/factsheets/t22_e.html
DDRC -- http://www.ddrc.org/docs/ddrcpage.asp?pageid=10



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Ernie Campbell, MD