For three decades the researchers at DAN have monitored, tracked and analyzed diving incidents and fatalities worldwide. One of the best sources of this incident data is you, the diver. When you self-report an injury or incident that you experienced or witnessed via the DAN Incident Reporting System, you offer a valuable look at real world diving incidents and injuries.
Modern discussion has led to a wide variety of recommendations on the topic from a number of sources, leading to some confusion. While some agencies and physicians recommend diving conservatively with a known PFO, others recommend surgical closure, and still others advise that there may not be a benefit to closure and that divers should just be aware of their condition.
Technical diving, and technical mixed-gas diving in particular, presents divers with increased risks and a unique set of hazards. Mixed-gas divers need to manage complex equipment, multiple breathing gases, and mitigate their risk of narcosis and the hazards caused by increased gas density by replacing some, or all, of the nitrogen in their breathing gas with helium. This use of high-content helium gases requires special considerations for gas switching and an adjustment of ascent rates and decompression time, and it can pose additional risks.
In isolated locations without the industry or population required to support medical facilities equipped to deal with dive related emergencies, in-water recompression (IWR) becomes an attractive prospect for dealing with decompression sickness, and a hotly debated issue.
Now CMAS—the World Underwater Federation—has decided to endorse the 2020 Diver Medical Screening system.
For most of us in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, being away from diving in itself is enough to cause withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes, factors such as work, weather and lifestyle can mean that we take longish breaks, although I do not think anyone has taken such a long break before—certainly not one that left no choice and one that required significant lifestyle changes and restrictions.
The document, which is intended to be used by divers, dive professionals and doctors, establishes a schedule for medical questionnaires and physical evaluations based on age and other relevant factors.
“Scuba certifications are generally valid for divers’ entire lives, but everyone’s health status changes over time,” said DAN medical director Jim Chimiak, M.D. “Our goal with this schedule is to provide useful guidance that divers can rely on to feel safe and confident in the water.”