Need advice/scared and depressed for my husband

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Hello My name is Jennifer, I am writing about my 48 year old husband, who is a former body builder/power lifter.  He was recently diagnosed with aortic aneurysm/ or dialated cardiac aorta.  Hope this makes sense, he started scuba diving a few years ago and loves it, it has become his passion.  His cardiologist told him no more heavy lifting, but has anyone ever had any experience with scuba diving and this condition.   Any advice or experiences would be helpful, feeling very nervous.

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  • Posted

    My gut reaction would be a definite "no" to the scuba diving. Similar to flying, the internal pressure on the body would be detrimental. My advice is not based on any medical knowledge though. 

    By far the best option though is to in  talk to your GP or contact your consultantt and ask the question.

    • Posted

      Agree w/Tez on the scuba diving. Definitely check with a cardiologist w/intimate knowledge of aneurysms before diving again. Perhaps there's a depth limit which he can safely handle? But given the profound effects to the body that diving can cause, I would definitely proceed w/caution...

      As far as flying, I was told by my cardiologist it was safe since the cabin is pressurized. He quipped if the cabin depresurizes and the airplane is going down, you've got bigger problems than your aneurysm lol! ;-). The larger danger in flying is you are potentially far away from immediate medical treatment, which a rupture/dissection would require. If God forbid, an aorta dissects while on a flight over the Atlantic, that may be game over. That being said, you have to live your life, and part of that means taking chances.  

      Again, best advice comes from the medical professionals. Find a cardiologist/medical team you trust and follow their advice. Good luck!

    • Posted

      I used to like the scuba diving too but once I mentioned it at the club I was barred.... . It's a big no no if you have an aneurysm.

    • Posted

      Sure flying is safe but try getting travel insurance.

      They work from a tick list and don't understand it. They ask has it bled? Has it been operated on ? Sorry can't insure you.

      I was once quoted £2K for a month in America. I asked if I go to Cuba instead. They said £1K. I went back to my usual insurer and asked them to exclude it from the policy and paid my normal premium.

    • Posted

      An osteopath would not take me as a patient when she saw it on my spinal X-Ray report. I asked the consultant and he gave me a letter saying it was OK.
  • Posted

    Hey everyone, this is Eric, Jennifer's husband. Thank you all very much for providing your input and advice. 

    I have a TAA of 4.5/4.6, I am seeing my cardiologist for a follow up on the 16th of this month and will confirm the exact size. After my stress test, I asked him about diving, which he stated he is not an expert at it or has much knowledge but "I should be okay". Told him I spoke with DAN (Divers Alert Network), a worldwide organization of medical professionals that insure and help divers with medical questions, diving related issues etc. They stated depth/water pressure is not the issue. I forgot the technicality as to why, I'm ASSUMING it's relatively the same as cabin pressure in an airplane? (Don't quote me). 

    HOWEVER....the issue is with exertion....happens when you carry your dive gear from hotel room to car, car to dock, then in reverse when your dives are over (Florida diving or anything non-resort). On ALL boats, it's putting on your fully set up gear, standing up from a seated position and walking to the edge of the boat. 70 or so lbs. Then it's climbing back into the boat with wet gear on, which may now be a few pounds heavier. Lastly, it's dealing with currents and how you manuever them. 


    1. dive gear hotel to car to docks and in reverse - going to buy a specialized cart to put all my gear on and wheel it. It's all already in a mesh bag, so I just need something on wheels to throw it on and secure it.

    2. gear on/off the boat - have the dive crew hand me my fully set up gear while I'm sitting at the edge of the boat, put it on, then roll in. Getting on the boat I will take it off in the water and hand to them, they can lift it out. Extra tip for dive crew.

    3. Currents - I've been diving for 3 1/2 years with close to 75 dives in and am learning to maneuver with the currents and gently swimming out. Going to Cozumel in 3 weeks which there is a lot of drift diving going on. 

    I was first diagnosed 4 years ago, went for a 2nd and 3rd opinion (3rd was 2 years ago, where they told me they couldn't find the aneurysym). I've been weight lifting at the gym (not steadily), smoking an occassional (1 every 3-6 months) cigar and diving 3 1/2 of those 4 years. Why? Either I didn't take this seriously enough then, or 3rd opinion I thought I was in the clear, a combination of the two.....I'm just GREATFUL TO GOD it hasn't grown at all after going back to Cardiologist #2 and doing a full workup (minus the CT scan which is coming soon).

    What has made me more alert to this and taking this very seriously? Recent tickling sensations that have returned from 4 years ago (muscle twitch? Still no one knows), had some out of breath episodes recently (read my other comment in another post please, too much detail to retype) and made me go get checked again. Cardiologist and electrocardiagram tech confirmed I definitely have TAA. Did more reading and heard of horror stories of bodybuilders having TAA or AAA and not being aware (as there are no warning signs) then either being rushed to the hospital or dropping dead after dissection or rupture.

    I hate talking like this as I love life and more so love my wife and our children. But as I told her, we need to be realistic, be prepared and take every precaution and step to not make this worse, and mostly hope for the best but be ready for the worst. 

    Not going to live scared (although I am nervous and was scared, accepting this more as time progresses and educating myself), going to live my life but WITH CARE AND PRECAUTION. 

    Was never a chain or habitual smoker, but cigar (or any other type of) smoking is OVER. 

    DONE with lifting any type of weights, just focusing on cardio and cleaning up my diet and shedding some weight (solid physique at 48 due to years of bodybuilding but accumulated fat as well which I'm working to get rid of sooner than later).

    Will brisk walk, bike, swim some laps (nice and easy), dive with care, and MAYBE.....if at all possible, go back into TaeKwonDo which I did as a teen and in my 20's. 

    NOT trying to sound stubborn or dismissive as I am taking this very seriously. If anyone feels like I'm making any bad judgement calls, have further advise or anything else to add PLEASE feel free as we are new to this and educatiing ourselves.

    Thank you all for taking the time to add your experiences and advise!


    • Posted

      Did your cardiologist recommend meds to reduce your bp?

      Rather than worry about it for the rest of your life, you could talk to your cardiologist or a cardiothoracic surgeon or vascular surgeon about stenting of your aneurysm. I don't know if that's indicated for your aneurysm size and condition but it might be worth discussing.

    • Posted

      He didn't reccommend any meds (yet) as my BP has always been pretty good, I'm guessing especially for a guy my size (but thin people can have high BP as well)

      When he checked it during my stress test last week, I was told it was good. He gave me the numbers but I honestly don't remember exactly what they were. 

      I will bring up stenting the aneurysym to my cardiologist when I see him on the 16th. Thank you for the advice!


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