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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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October 2023    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 49, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Getting Bent Four Hours from a Chamber

and then a PFO diagnosis

from the October, 2023 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Patent Foramen Ovale is a hole between the upper chambers of the heart. Everyone is born with it, but for 70-80 percent of people, it closes naturally after birth. It's diagnosed by a cardiologist conducting an echocardiogram bubble test. Divers with a PFO are at a much higher risk for DCS than others, as the sidebar discusses.

I did not suspect DCS and didn't tell the leader. I vomited, took Benadryl, and went to sleep, skipping the 4th dive and my birthday dinner.

One of our correspondents, a 60-year-old woman diver, had a bends hit, after which she discovered her PFO. We want to share her story with you. It's a case that demonstrates too much diving upon arrival at a destination, dehydration, not catching early symptoms, the difficulty of getting to a recompression chamber, the ordeal of a chamber, and dealing with the cost, even though she had DAN insurance. Thankfully, she has no lingering problems, but she tells a cautionary tale.

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