Blood and Diving

Question:
I have a prospective student who has FACTOR V LEIDEN blooding clotting disorder. He does not take any medication for the condition but has been warned to be careful of DVT's on long flights.
Can he dive safely?

Answer:
This condition is linked to a particular trait of the blood and does not normally require any specific preventive action. The warning against the risk of DVT during prolonged flights is mainly linked to the two known risk factors of dehydration and blood stasis in the legs. Both can also be present during diving, due to the known dehydration effect of diving and to the possibility of blood stasis due to a tight wet suit of any form of constriction or impairement to the venous blood return.
This prospective student, after passing a standard fitness to dive exam, and unless any complication of the condition arises, could dive safely, provided that adequate hydration is constantly maintained and any obstruction of impairment to the normal venous return from the legs is avoided.

Question:
I have been approached by a young woman who wishes to commence a PADI open water course. Unfortunately she suffered a thrombosis 2 years ago as a result of being Factor V heterozygote, she remained on warfarin until approximately 8 months ago and has been well since then. Her haematologist has advised her against SCUBA diving as she is unaware of any research into the affects of diving on her condition. I would be grateful if you could obtain the opinion of one of your medical officers with regard to her specific problem and also to advise with respect to diving with a past history of thrombosis.

Answer:

 

It is generally recommended that an individual with a blood disorder which can cause an occlusive vascular phenomenon should not dive.

 

This is outlined in various text books discussing assessment of fitness to dive.