Cardiovascular Fitness & Diving

Individuals diving with some of the cardiac conditions listed below may be at an increased risk for injury. In fact, 20 to 30 percent of all diving deaths have a contributory cardiovascular condition.

A regular medical evaluation with appropriate follow-up visits can help identify and control health problems associated with cardiovascular disease. To control risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, it's important to: avoid smoking, eat a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats, stay on a regular exercise program; and follow a doctor's advice.

In this section, Dr. James Caruso answers common questions about cardiovascular conditions posed to DAN medics on DAN's Medical Information Line. Although you may not have experienced any of these conditions, the knowledge that they exist may benefit you in the future, or perhaps that knowledge may benefit a dive buddy right now. It is in every diver's best interest to manage personal health risks as well as assess conditions on dive day. An educated, well-informed diver who chooses to dive safely can minimize any health and safety risks associated with diving.

LCDR James Caruso (M.D.) is Attending Pathologist and Diving Medical Officer for the U.S. Navy at the Naval Hospital, Pensacola, Fla., and a consulting physician for DAN.

Cardiovascular Relationship From the MediClip Color Anatomy Collection,
1996, Williams & Wilkins, a Waverley Company