A Relationship Between Bends and Migraines

Date: 1/2/2002

As we’ve reported often, divers with patent foramen ovale – literally a hole in the wall separating the upper chambers of the heart – are far more susceptible to the bends than other. Divers who get bent on what is a normal profile well within the tables, later learn of their heart’s condition after a post DCS exam.

Peter Wilmshurst, at England’s Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, finds that bent divers tend to have a history of migraines preceded by an “aura” of visual and speech disturbances or changes in skin sensation. Of 80 divers with large holes, he found that 40 suffered from this kind of migraine.

Many such divers have the hole closed to reduce their chances of suffering from the bends. The operation can be performed via a catheter ed into the heart. To Wilmshurst’s surprise, 7 out of 16 divers who had surgery to close the holes stopped having migraines altogether, and all but 1 of the other 9 reported that their migraines had become less severe and less frequent.

So, if migraines bother you, consider it as a suggestion that DCS might be in your future and talk with your Doc.

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