Diving After Bypass Surgery

If you were at the April Extreme Dive Club Meeting, you’ll remember the comment where we asked Grady to write a blog post for this month. No, not the one he has written so far, but the one about diving after “bypass surgery.” This is what he wrote:

“Don’t take your wife to the doctor with you.”

Let me explain why I thought he should not be diving 2 months after bypass surgery. They had to open up his chest. That alone puts a strain on the body. Then when the surgery was finished, there was difficulty pushing up out of a chair, coughing, laughing, anything that puts pressure on the chest. The doctor put him on weight restrictions plus driving restrictions. The body had to have time to heal. With that thought, would he be able to climb up out of the ocean, onto the back of a dive boat? Think of the ocean waves, the jarring of the boat, and the weight of the SCUBA gear. Would he be able to do it without injuring himself worse? Probably not!

The pressure underwater was not an issue. The issue was pulling himself up with his arms carrying the heavy SCUBA equipment. I felt like he needed to wait a while for his chest to heal.


In a previous year while at DEMA, we went past the Diver’s Alert Network booth. We stopped to talk to them about diving after bypass surgery (this was before Grady’s surgery by quite a few years). A thought lingered in the back of my mind about the time frame that they gave for diving after surgery. I looked it up and they recommend:

that anyone who has had open-chest surgery needs appropriate medical evaluation prior to diving. After a period of stabilization and healing, it is recommended to wait 6-12 months prior to being cleared to dive again. He or she must be free of chest pain and have normal exercise tolerance. If in doubt at all about the success of the surgery or how open the coronary arteries are, the individual should refrain from diving.

So that is why I “convinced” the doctor that SCUBA Diving was not safe for him at that time.

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