Is it safe to SCUBA dive with asthma?

Megan Dp Gore, Giles Dixon*, Andrew E. Stanton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review


Introduction: Internationally it is estimated that six million people participate in self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) diving each year. Registries suggest a significant proportion of divers have a current or historical diagnosis of asthma. Previously individuals with asthma were prohibited from diving, however, several contemporary guidelines suggest a select population of patients with asthma may be able to dive with an acceptable degree of risk.

Areas covered: Divers with asthma may be at an increased risk of a variety of diving-related medical injuries including; pulmonary barotrauma (PBT), pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum, arterial gas embolism (AGE), reduction in pulmonary function, bronchospasm and decompression sickness (DCS). This article will discuss the latest evidence on the incidence of adverse events in diving with a focus on those caused by asthma.

Expert opinion: Physicians can be faced with the difficult task of counseling patients with asthma who wish to dive. This review article will aim to explore the current guidelines which can assist a physician in providing a comprehensive dive safety assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1077
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Review of Respiratory Medicine
Issue number11
Early online date11 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sep 2019


  • Asthma
  • dive assessment
  • diving

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