The Dive Medical Questionnaire
Some medical conditions may directly preclude you from diving because of the condition itself, while others will stop you from being able to dive because of the medications giving to treat the condition. The dive company will provide you with a Dive Medical Questionnaire that must be completed prior to departure.
The Medical Questionnaire comprises a series of questions that will determine whether you have, or are, suffering from a range of conditions, or involved in any contra-indicated treatment regimes, that may impact on your fitness or suitability for diving.
If you indicate that you have suffered, or are suffering, from any of the conditions listed, or are taking any of the medications listed, you will be referred to a qualified physician for a Dive Medical that conforms to Australian Standard AS4005-1. The purpose of the Medical Questionnaire is to find out if you should be examined by your doctor before diving.
A positive response to a question does not necessarily automatically disqualify you completely from diving. It simply means that there is a pre-existing condition that may affect your safety while diving and you must seek the advice and assessment of a trained physician prior to diving. The assessment will involve weighing-up the pleasures to be had by diving against an increased risk of death or injury due to the medical condition.
The Medical Questionnaire will also ask some questions about your experience as a diver, and the conditions that you have previously dived under.
If you answer YES to any question, you will not be allowed to dive until the Dive Medical has been carried out and you are certified as being fit to dive.
Sample Dive Medical Questionnaires
Here's some sample questionnaires that you may be asked to complete by a dive operator. If you answer 'yes' to any of the conditions mentioned, a dive medical is usually then required to clear you for diving.
A severe risk condition implies that an individual will be at a substantially elevated risk of serious injury or death compared with the general population, and should not dive. The principle conditions in this category are:
- Recent heart surgery
- Serious lung or chest disease (particularly where surgery was involved)
- Epilepsy, fitting, convulsions and seizures, or taking medications to prevent them
- Diabetes requiring insulin.
- Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) even after a surgical procedure designed to prevent recurrence
- Any neurological abnormality where there is a significant probability of unconsciousness
Relative Or Temporary Risks
The following conditions are termed a relative risk and will cause a moderate increase in risk, which in some instances may be acceptable. A physician is required to make a clinical assessment of the diver to decide whether diving is contraindicated for this category of medical problem.
Some of these medical problems may be temporary in nature, and the Dive Medical will determine if and when the diver can be considered fit to dive.
On the list of significant conditions that may disqualify you from diving pending a medical assessment are:
- Breathing issues including frequent or severe attacks of hayfever or allergy, frequent colds, sinusitis or bronchitis
- Behavioural health, mental or psychological problems (claustrophobia, agrophobia, active psychosis, panic attacks)
- Recurring complicated migraine headaches whose symptoms or severity impair motor or cognitive function, neurologic manifestations, or taking medications to prevent them
- Blackouts, fainting or partial loss of consciousness
- Head injury with loss of consciousness in the past five years
- Intracranial Tumor or Aneurysm
- Frequent or severe motion sickness
- Dysentery or dehydration requiring medical intervention
- Past dive accidents or decompression sickness
- Inability to perform moderate exercise
- Clinically obese
- Recurrent back problems, or back or spinal surgery
- Back, arm or leg problems following surgery, injury or fracture
- High blood pressure or taking medicination to control it
- Heart attack, heart disease, angina, heart surgery or blood vessel surgery
- Sinus surgery
- Ear disease or surgery, recurrent ear problems, hearing loss, or ear-related problems effecting balance
- Heamophelia, bleeding or other blood disorders
- Ulcers or ulcer surgery
- Colostomy or ileostomy
- Recreational drug use or alcoholism, or treatment for these in the past five years
- Regularly taking prescription or non-prescription medications (With the exception of birth control or anti-malarial treatments)
- Being over 45 years of age and having one or more of the following:
- Currently smoke a pipe, cigars or cigarettes
- Have a high cholesterol level
- Have a family history of heart attack or stroke
- Are currently receiving medical care
- Have high blood pressure
- Have diabetes mellitus, even if controlled by diet alone
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