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Lung diseases

Scuba Diving with a Scar from a Lung Abscess

01/01/2011

Question:

Please could you let me know whether it is safe to do a Padi diving course although an x-ray some years ago showed a small scar on my lung which is probably the result of a lung abcess (following fractured jaw/oral surgery after a horse-riding accident)?

Thank you.

Answer:

It is not uncommon to have some residual changes on chest x-ray from lung infection.  However, if the abscess left a scar that is cystic or cavitating (forming gas bubbles), this could predispose you to a potentially life threatening event while diving.  

You should seek further evaluation by a pulmonologist to further review your chest x-ray and may potentially require Chest CT scan and pulmonary function test.

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Response by:

Andrew  Twehues, MD Andrew Twehues, MD
Fourth Year Fellow
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University

John G Mastronarde, MD John G Mastronarde, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University