Medical Questions

Wind instruments

This is NOT an emergency. I have a question: I’m a musician (saxophone, flute, and clarinet) and would like to know how long I should wait with playing an instrument after diving without increasing the risk of a decompression accident. After a dive it is not advisable to do any physical exertion. I always wait until my dive computer Galileo Sol doesn’t show any desaturation time anymore. Are there any guidelines?

Answer from DAN experts: 

Being this the case of wind instruments, the risk relates to the possible increase in intra-thoracic pressure that can facilitate the arterialisation of potential circulating venous bubbles, both having a cardiac or pulmonary right to left shunt, but also with ideal anatomical conditions. This is because of significant quantities of VGE (venous gas emboli) which increase the right ventricular pressure and force the filter of the lung. Waiting for the total desaturation time, shown on the Galileo diving computer, is not wrong but very precautionary. The problem lies on VGE presence which cannot be detected after 3 hours from surfacing, in case of recreational dives. Time should be extended with advanced/tech dives but also in this case, VGE are rarely observed after 4-6 hours.

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