Continue or stop diving with a PFO?

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chillyinCanada

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Only dive air, but that's really down to sub optimal planning from my side. I get my tanks filled just prior to going diving, if I want nitrox my LDS need the tanks a day or two ahead of diving. Have been thinking about doing some easy rec dives with GF 40/60 and still keep well within NDL and see how that works out.

I cannot advise you.

I have had 2 skin bends, the first was around 200 dives and the second, I can't recall exactly, but maybe only 50 more. They were both on air.

Since the second time, I've dived exclusively on nitrox, another approx 700 dives, and haven't had another problem.
 

jvogt

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Nitrox has a huge impact on how fast you off gas in the shallows or safety stop, so even if you push NDL at depth the same as on air you surface with less deco stress. Assuming you don't just bolt to the surface from the bottom.
 

rddvet

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Only dive air, but that's really down to sub optimal planning from my side. I get my tanks filled just prior to going diving, if I want nitrox my LDS need the tanks a day or two ahead of diving. Have been thinking about doing some easy rec dives with GF 40/60 and still keep well within NDL and see how that works out.
***I am not telling you how to dive or giving medical advice. Just giving my history***** If I were you (and I was up until this year), I would not dive air at all. The less nitrogen loading the better. I personally dive helium anytime I'm going deeper than 100ft both because it helped tremendously to decrease the skin bends and because it's just a smart policy for anybody. At this point, even on shallow dives I'm diving 30% helium or more just because that's what's always in my rebreather. I actually found after moving to ccr my symptoms lessened even more, but I don't think that's due to the ccr. I think it's because it was easier to always be on helium and my dives shortened for a while as I acclimated to the unit.
I originally was diving 30/85, moved it down years ago to 40/75 which helped alot, but finally settled on 50/70 for all dives. Also important is I changed my ascents. Nearly 99% of my dives are cave dives and I was most often symptomatic after diving Ginnie, which is high flow and easy to exit and ascend quickly from. I found there was one area (the keyhole) which has a pretty quick 10-15 foot ascent and it's easy to blow through it. So I started being very annoyingly (to my buddy) slow through that area. And after finishing deco I take an extended 5-7 minutes to go from 20ft to the surface. Those changes made the biggest difference.
 

Coiver2

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I agree with the other posts & share my experience with a PFO

I ve had a PFO closure performed in 2009 after suffering a cerebral bend following a conservative recreational dive
Looking back I believe this bend was caused simply by lifting a tank following a double dive and would recommend that physical exertion be avoided especially following multiple dives
At that time I had logged about 700 dives and had previously experienced a number of minor skin bends and headaches that disappeared after a few hours
After admission to ER initial diagnosis was a TIA ie stroking, however as I had been diving doctors referred me onto the Hyperbaric Unit
However after 1 dry dive I became nauseous and the hyperbaric specialist concluded that my condition was unrelated to diving and referred me to a Neurologist
This Neurologist was of the opposite view that my condition was definitely diving related and in conjunction with a Cardiologist located a PFO shunting without provocation
Cardiologist told me to give up diving or risk ending up in a wheel chair .
I clearly indicated my desire to continue diving and was scheduled for a plug/closure Amplatzer Occluder operation
This operation is performed via small incision in the groin , your conscious the whole time so you can watch and follow the surgeons instructions
Your discharged after a few hours and required to take things easy for a few days
Later if you pass a stress echo test to check if your PFO has been successfully plugged
Your given a Patient ID card to evidence that the growth in your heart is supposed to be there
The Cardiologist can also provide a medical report confirming your fit to dive again for your DAN insurance
Since closure I ve logged another 1000 dives without any problems
Down under in Australia cost is covered either by your private health fund or by the governments Medicare similar to NHS
I been informed that approximately 30 per cent of us have PFOs and about 80 per cent of the divers who get an underserved bend have an undiagnosed PFO
I am aware of another 4 local Sydney divers with PFO closures following various undeserved bends and recommend that you pursue getting plugged to avoid a similar experience to mine possibly when your on a dive trip to a remote area
 

EU_diver

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Hi everyone,

After 10 years of diving of which about 4 years with some deco (20 - 30 mins accelerated decompression) and the last 2 years on ccr, I had a decompression incident after which a PFO test was done.

The last 3 years after diving I had more & more headaches and about 3 - 4 times a form of skin bends (muscle pain in the abdomen, red / purplish spots but although not that obvious) - even on recreational dives. A few months ago, after the 2nd dive of the day about 10 minutes after surfacing (1st of the week - 1st dive to 40 meters with 15mins of deco, 2nd dive to 34m with 5 mins of deco with 2 hours between dives. Profile was good, I stayed about 5 - 7 minutes longer on the last stop depth and gradiënt factors are quite conservative) I started coughing real bad, shortness of breath and blurred vision on 1 eye.

I knew instantly that something was wrong. I had oxygen immediately, blurred vision improved in the next 10 minutes but medics were on site for another incident and the decision was made to monitor me, given excessive fluids, oxygen, heart monitored with elevated heart rate (140 - 150bpm in rest) and taken to a hospital. I was discharged a few hours later with remaining headache and pain in the abdomen, my back & nausea. That night I developed a fever, more nausea and the headache, pain in abdomen + my back lasted for 2 days. I kept in contact with DAN and 2 days later I was referred to a hyperbaric chamber but by then symptoms were almost gone so no treatment was necessary.

PFO test done a week later and tested positive with grade 2 (a lot of bubbles with pression and few bubbles spontaneous). I visited a specialist & I took the medical advice and decided to had it closed.

My PFO was closed 4 days ago. The procedure took about 30 minutes with full sedation & I was discharged from the hospital the day after. Now it's a no diving period for about 6 months and then back to new adventures.

I could keep diving without having it closed but with a minimum amount of bubble formation (nitrox / ccr while on air tables, 2 dives per day, max 30 meters, ...). I did not take it lightly but I would not have peace of mind when diving knowing I had quite a big PFO and I had symptoms several times, even on recreational dives.

Best of luck!
 
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Frogman82

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Thought I'd update this thread. After being rejected for pfo closure in my local hospital, I was referred by my GP to another major hospital in Norway for a second opinion. Guess it was my lucky strike because they approved me for the procedure and I actually had it done today. I'm so happy and thankful I can't describe it 😀 hopefully I'm back in the water in six months time.
 
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