Effects of Cardiovascular Condtitions on Mortality among Scuba Divers

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Corlew, Beverly
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Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this case-control study was to examine the physical fitness level and medical status of active divers and examine the relationship between cardiovascular health conditions and mortality while scuba diving. The secondary purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which those divers who do have preexisting heart conditions perceive their risk of dying while diving and to determine the extent to which they are willing to change their diving behaviors. Data for the live controls in this study were collected from 192 scuba divers using the Scuba Survey Version 3. All divers were members of ScubaBoard, an online scuba diving forum. Data collected included demographic and background information as well as information from the Scuba Survey Version 3. Data for 68 deceased cases were collected using archived data from the Diver's Alert Network Annual Report. The information collected on the cases included age, gender, Body Mass Index, preexisting medical conditions, and cause of death.
Logistic regression was used for the data analysis. The logistic regression models were adjusted to account for potential confounding factors. Statistical analysis were conducted using SPSS Version 20. The classification analysis goal was to produce a model in which 80% of the observed deaths or survival while participating in scuba diving activities, the perceived chance of dying while diving among active divers, and the extent to which divers will stop diving when cardiovascular health condition exist, are correctly predicted.
Divers with fewer dives were more likely to alter their diving behavior by not diving when preexisting cardiovascular conditions exist than the divers who had a higher number of dives per year. This result was not surprising although shows the need to provide additional information to those who are already certified.
Overall, the results of this study helped to answer questions about a diver's perceived chance of dying and willingness to stop diving. The results show a need for future studies and health interventions among scuba divers to educate them about the risks of diving with cardiovascular health conditions.
Body Mass Index, Cardiovascular Conditions, Scuba