Can Freediving Cause DCS?

By Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D. A reader recently asked me if freedivers ever developed decompression sickness. This has been studied in several countries but the best information comes from the natives of the Tuamotu Archipelago in Polynesia, where freedivers in the past made 40 to 60 dives a day to depths of 100 to 140…


Cholesterol and Blood Vessels

By Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D. I was recently asked how we can screen divers to prevent heart attacks while diving. Should we do stress tests, electrocardiograms or other procedures to be sure a diver is not at risk? Long before these tests become necessary, we should be working to minimize risk factors for blood vessel…


Inquiring Readers Write

By Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D. This series of questions and answers is a summary of several letters received from readers. Question: I have recently been diagnosed with glaucoma. I use several medications, including a small patch that is inserted under the eyelid. Is there any problem with diving? Answer: Glaucoma causes increased pressure inside the…


Ears and Diving

By Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D. A diver visited my office recently because she was having difficulty equalizing her ears. She had a history of hayfever, often had nasal congestion and occasionally used antihistamines. She had difficulty clearing on all of her diving vacations. Another trip was coming up and she was seeking advice on how…


Freediving its Physiology and potential hazards

By Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D. Most of us don’t find sport diving equipment excessive but others find the simplicity of freediving a significant advantage. In many of the tropical islands of the Caribbean, freediving to reefs 20 to 30 feet deep will provide many of the same visual pleasures obtained by scuba divers. When I…


Bone Injuries From Diving

By Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D. The area of interest was just under the surface of the humerus (the upper arm bone). We both looked at the MRI scan, at the area the radiologist said was a typical lesion of osteonecrosis. The patient was a 39 year old sport diver who had been diving for more…


Atrial Fibrillation

By Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D The most frequently asked questions regarding diving and the heart concern atrial fibrillation. Among abnormal heart rhythms, this one seems to be increasing in frequency. When atrial fibrillation occurs, the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) begin beating rapidly and irregularly, reaching rates of 600 per minute. Fortunately, the…


Hyperbaric Oxygen – Not Just For Divers

By Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D There are many uses for an hyperbaric chamber other than treatment of diving accidents. Of particular interest is the growing field of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Oxygen is necessary for the function of cell tissues and organs in the body. Many forms of illness and injury cause inadequate oxygen delivery, with…


Antibiotics and Diving

By Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D. With an increasing number of divers traveling out of the country, it is common to find them carrying a variety of medications to manage illness in places where medical care may not be available. At the top of the list of travel medications are the antibiotics. Because of the risk…


Ear Barotrauma

By Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D. One of the most discussed problems with diving is that of ear injuries. This has been a topic of numerous Skin Diver articles, but it needs to be reviewed periodically because of the number of ear injuries, and the fact that most divers will eventually have an ear injury of…