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Central Nervous System - Spinal

Dr Jules Eden, dive medicine specialist and founder of e-med, answers divers' questions - as published in Sport Diver magazine:
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Q - I am planning on doing my Padi this year, having done a couple of dives last year in Honduras without any troubles. I am however a little concerned about going down this path as from a birth I have suffered from Hydrocephalus and was 10 weeks premature. This means that I am shunted to enable the fluid to drain from my brain.

At first I had two shunts, but now I only have one. In 1996, my shunt was revised twice due to age of the mechanics and touch wood I do not have any troubles at present, though I have yearly out-patient visits to my Consultant. I recently transferred to the National in Queens Square WC1 from GOSH, where I had been from just after birth, having been moved from UCH.

Otherwise, I live a normal life, bar participating in rugby, kick boxing and pub brawls. If you would be able to shed any light on the safety of scuba diving with my condition I would appreciate it.

A - Thatís what I like to hear. Good old British pastimes. They can take away the fox hunting, but they canít stop us fighting in pubs. Longer licensing hours. Itís just a reason for an even bigger fight when the boozer closes at 2 a.m. See you in Stuttgart in June mate. Iím tooled up. And so should you be with your PADI card. I assume your shunt goes into your abdomen. The high pressure cerebrospinal fluid has to be taken away from your brain as it canít go the normal route out. The tube takes it safely into your tummy cavity, and as thereís no air involved, all is not compressible at depth. So OK, just get a fit to dive cert first.

(other dive medical questions)


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