My doctor recently diagnosed me with mild COPD. Can I still dive with this condition? What are the risks?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD), encompasses a variety of respiratory health problems, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Regardless of what form of COPD a person may have, there are implications for diving and risks of which the person should be aware.

Chronic bronchitis is defined clinically as a productive cough that persists for periods of up to three months and occurs one or more times a year for at least two years. During these periods, the risk of infection, including pneumonia, is high. The inflammation of the bronchial passages and increased mucus production that characterize these periods are uncomfortable: Patients report wheezing, difficulty breathing and feeling as though they cannot get enough air.

For divers, the inflammation and excess mucus lead to the possibility of trapping dense compressed gas at depth. Upon ascent the gas will expand in volume, potentially leading to pulmonary barotrauma, which could include pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and, in the worst case, arterial gas embolism (AGE). Of these, AGE is the most immediate threat to life, but a complicated pneumothorax can also be fatal.

Emphysema is defined clinically as permanent abnormal enlargement of the air spaces within the lungs due to the deterioration of the alveoli. These enlarged spaces are conducive to trapping air at depth, which creates the same possibility of pulmonary barotrauma as chronic bronchitis.

For medical management purposes with regard to medications and other therapies, physicians classify COPD as mild, moderate, severe or very severe, as determined by severity of airflow obstruction. Even with the clinical designation of mild there is measurable obstruction beyond what is considered safe among pulmonology experts trained in dive medicine. For these reasons, diving with COPD — even mild COPD — is not recommended.
Posted in

No Comments


 2016 (119)
Air Quality Annual renewal Arthroscopic surgery Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Boyle\\\'s Law Boyle\\\\\\\'s Law Breath hold Breath-hold Buoyancy CGASA Camera settings Cancer Remission Cancer Cape Town Dive Festival Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Cold Water Cold Contaminants DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN report DCS Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Decompression Sickness Decompression illsnes Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive accidents Dive health Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive safety Diveleaders Divers Alert Diving injuries Diving Dr Rob Schneider Ear pressure Ears injuries Exercise Eye injuries FAQ Fatigue Fitness Francois Burman Free diving Freediver Gas laws Gastric bypass Gordon Hiles Health practitioner Inert gas Instructors Kids scubadiver Labour laws Legislation Leukemis Medical Q Middle ear pressure Mycobacterium marinum Nosebleeds Orbital implants Oxygen ears Part 3 Pool Diving Report incidents SABS 019 Safety Science Scuba Injury Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba health Scubalearners Snorkeling Surgery Thermal Notions Underwater photographer Underwater pho Valsalva manoeuvers Vasvagal Syncope White balance Wreck dive Youth diver abrasion alert diver antibiotics breathing air child decongestants dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child dive doctors ear spaces equalizing hospital immersion pulmonary edema (IPE join DAN marine pathogens medical procedures medical risk assesment mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre outgas post dive saturation scuba sinus infections thermal protection