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Ischaemic Heart Disease

ISCHAEMIC HEART DISEASE (HEART ATTACK / CARDIAC STENTS / ANGIOPLASTY)

There is a chance you may be able to dive but there are some considerations and tests that need to be done first. There are risks associated with a return to diving that can be managed but will never be reduced back to those of the general population.

If you are diabetic, the guidelines are different and you should seek further advice. 

Heart Attacks including STEMI / NSTEMI:

Broadly speaking, a heart attack means the heart has been damaged. To go diving again, we need to know that the heart will function well enough to withstand the rigors of diving (both anticipated and unanticipated) and not put you at risk of incapacity or death underwater.  You need to have an echocardiogram and an exercise stress test (or similar) to test cardiac function and response to exercise. You may have already had these done but if not, you may have to have them done privately as it may not form part of your standard NHS care.

Please also see the section on ‘Cardiovascular Risk Factors’.

Stents and angioplasty:

Angioplasty is used to widen coronary arteries that have become narrowed by coronary artery disease. Stents are used to hold these arteries open.  Stents can be fitted in an emergency in people who are having a heart attack (please read this in conjunction with the ‘Heart Attack’ section) or as a planned procedure in people that are having angina or chest pain.  Some people are able to go diving again after these procedures but each case has to be considered individually. Most people who have had cardiac stents have been put on anticoagulants (medication to thin the blood) and this needs to be carefully considered.

Please see our section on ‘Anticoagulants’ for information on how this affects diving. Please also see the section on ‘Cardiovascular Risk Factors’.

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