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July 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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A Better Heart-Check Tool than a Stress Test?

from the July, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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In our May article "Heart Health in Older Divers," we reported on a 65-year-old diver, who rarely exercised and never visited a doctor, dying minutes after starting a dive in the Galapagos. That story sparked many older divers to ask what they need to do to prevent something similar happening to them. Should they go in for a stress test before a dive trip? Carry a portable automated external defibrillator (AED) with them? During our research, we learned there are no clear guidelines for whether older divers should have regular stress tests, and no mandates for dive boats to have AEDs onboard. In fact, the American College of Physicians (ACP) published new guidelines warning people against routine cardiac testing, saying it hasn't been shown to improve patient outcomes, and it can actually lead to potential harms. Divers Alert Network (DAN) says it supports those new guidelines, but are they considering the stress that divers, in particular older divers, may face in tough conditions?....


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