Screening and Risk Stratification Strategy Reduced Decompression Sickness Occurrence in Divers With Patent Foramen Ovale.

J. Honěk, M. Šrámek, T. Honěk, A. Tomek, L. Šefc, J. Januška, J. FiedlerM. Horváth, Š. Novotný, M. Brabec, J. Veselka. JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging. 2021 Aug 12;S1936-878X(21)00509-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2021.06.019. IF: 14.805

MUDr. Jakub Honěk, Ph.D.

MUDr. Jakub Honěk, Ph.D., Department of Cardiology


Objectives: This paper sought to evaluate the occurrence of decompression sickness (DCS) after the application of a patent foramen ovale (PFO) screening and risk stratification strategy.

Background: PFO is associated with an increased risk of DCS. Recently, transcatheter closure was reported to reduce DCS occurrence in divers with a high-grade shunt. However, to date, there are no data regarding the effectiveness of any PFO screening and risk stratification strategy for divers.

Methods: A total of 829 consecutive divers (35.4 ± 10.0 years, 81.5% men) were screened for PFO by means of transcranial color-coded sonography in the DIVE-PFO (Decompression Illness Prevention in Divers with a Patent Foramen Ovale) registry. Divers with a high-grade PFO were offered either catheter-based PFO closure (the closure group) or advised conservative diving (high grades). Divers with a low-grade shunt were advised conservative diving (low grades), whereas those with no PFO continued unrestricted diving (controls). A telephone follow-up was performed. To study the effect of the screening and risk stratification strategy, DCS occurrence before enrollment and during the follow-up was compared.

Results: Follow-up was available for 748 (90%) divers. Seven hundred and 2 divers continued diving and were included in the analysis (mean follow-up 6.5 ± 3.5 years). The DCS incidence decreased significantly in all groups, except the controls. During follow-up, there were no DCS events in the closure group; DCS incidence was similar to the controls in the low-grade group (HR: 3.965; 95% CI: 0.558-28.18; P = 0.169) but remained higher in the high-grade group (HR: 26.170; 95% CI: 5.797-118.16; P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: The screening and risk stratification strategy using transcranial color-coded sonography was associated with a decrease in DCS occurrence in divers with PFO. Catheter-based PFO closure was associated with a DCS occurrence similar to the controls; the conservative strategy had a similar effect in the low-grade group, but in the high-grade group the DCS incidence remained higher than in all other groups.

Created: 28. 12. 2021 / Modified: 25. 1. 2022 / Mgr. Ing. Tereza Kůstková