Mark Turner Consultant Cardiologist

The Heart Centre Spire Bristol Hospital, The Glen
A Centre of Excellence for Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery

Heart Attacks and Coronary Artery Disease

It is possible for divers to return to SCUBA diving after a heart attack, coronary stent or even a bypass operation. Diving whilst taking some medicines, such as Clopidogrel or Prasugrel, can be a problem, but these medicines are often not prescribed for the long term.

Following a heart attack a detailed assessment of the heart is needed. Dr Turner can usually undertake the necessary assessments in one visit to the Spire Hospital, in conjunction with a review of the reports and sometimes also angiograms from the divers own cardiologist.

For the first year after returning to diving Dr Turner usually recommends diving without obligatory decompression stops, which means the diver can surface immediately if there is a problem. However if the diver passes all of the necessary assessments and there is no angina, it is usually possible to get divers back into the water after a heart attack or revascularisation with stents or bypass surgery. After bypass surgery some additional lung assessments are needed, but these can also be performed at Spire Bristol.