[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
December 13, 1985

Should Epileptics Scuba Dive?

JAMA. 1985;254(22):3183. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360220044022

To the Editor.—  The Professional Advisory Board of the Epilepsy Foundation of America is rightfully concerned about epileptics leading full lives.1 However, their admonition that they should be allowed to scuba dive is woefully misdirected. The hyper-baric environment creates a radically new milieu for the epileptic diver, for example, constant acidosis due to carbon dioxide retention, the presence of "silent bubbles" on "safe" dives, and a host of metabolic changes known and unknown.The most important point, however, is that the epileptic diver puts his diving buddies at mortal risk when he decides he is going to dive. Diving with a buddy is always taught today and the underwater rescue of a convulsing buddy is almost always unsuccessful and often results in a double death. Even if the stricken diver can be retrieved to the dive boat, immediate helicopter evacuation is necessary due to the risk of air embolism,