Author Topic: Pneumothorax, pleurodesis & return to SCUBA.  (Read 4129 times)


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Pneumothorax, pleurodesis & return to SCUBA.
« on: August 31, 2011, 12:11:51 UTC »
(Q) “08.24.11; Pneumothorax and pleurodecis

Dear DocV,

My wife is 55 and in good health. non smoker. Approximately 10 minutes after a dive she had chest pain which ended up being a pneumothorax. Our profiles had been good and we make a safety stop after every dive. (It is our automatic time to turn camers and strobes off, put cover on dome, fold strobe arms and hang for several minutes.)

She is automatically disqualified from diving.

A chest surgeon (diver) said he could do a pleurodecis which would guarantee that her lung would never collapse again.


1) I have never read anything about diving after pleurodecis
2) Would DAN insure someone after pleurodecis?”

(A) 08.25.11

Hi Rs…,

Sorry to hear that.

The procedure to which you are referring is termed "pleurodesis." It typically involves the placement of a chemical irritant into the space between the pleura (the two layers of tissue lining the lungs) in order to create inflammation which tacks the two together, although sometimes such "tacking" may be effected by directly surgically scarring the space. The procedure is intended to obstruct or obliterate the space between the pleura and thus prevent any future accumulation of gas (or fluid). It often does greatly decrease the likelihood of recurrence, but not to zero, and is not to be rushed into and not until after appropriate investigation by and discussion with by a qualified pulmonologist, preferably one at least somewhat knowledgeable in diving medicine. Often pneumothoracies are the result of lung abnormalities and diseases that must be addressed in treatment and return to diving decisions.

DAN does not deny dive accident insurance solely on the basis of a pre-existing condition such as pneumothorax. This does not, however, mean that DAN automatically believes that someone with such a pulmonary history should in fact engage in SCUBA. You or your wife's pulmonologist are free to contact DAN Scuba Diving Medical Services by phone or email and ask their opinion.

I can tell you that many diving medicine savvy divers would think very carefully about a return to SCUBA following pleurodesis for any type of pneumothorax. Even given a small recurrence rate, if recurrence does occur while diving it could easily be fatal.



This is educational only and does not constitute or imply a doctor-patient relationship. It is not medical advice to you or any other individual and should not be construed as such.”


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