Diving After Pulmonary Barotrauma

It is widely considered that an incident of PBT is a contraindication for further scuba diving. The reasons are two-fold: first, the diver may have demonstrated a pulmonary abnormality or predisposition; and, second, pulmonary damage has been sustained and may produce local scarring on healing, thus predisposing to further problems by alteration of lung compliance.

It must be acknowledged that these considerations are largely based on first principles rather than hard outcome data, and some degree of uncertainty over the validity of considering prior PBT an automatic contraindication to further diving must be acknowledged. This becomes most problematic when there is doubt over the diagnosis of PBT itself, and the diver is highly motivated to continue diving. In the recreational diving setting this is often resolved by fully informing the diver of all the relevant issues and leaving the diver to make a decision about continued diving as an informed risk acceptor.