Does anyone know if it is safe to scuba dive with enlarged spleen, portal hypertension and varices?

I have auto immune hepatitis which has led to cirrhosis, portal hypertension and varices (these are small and have never needed banding). I'm going to Egypt at the end of January (having finally found insurance!) and was wondering if anyone knows anything about scuba diving with an enlarged spleen and portal hypertension?

9 Replies

  • I'd give your specialist's secretary a ring and just get confirmation from your doctor with regards scuba diving, flying and such like. Hope you have a fantastic holiday and fit in all the activities you want.

    Just one thing to remember when abroad about water - some bottled waters contain high levels of sodium and arn't great if you are meant to follow a low salt intake. Might be worth also asking about that and safe alternatives.


  • This on a scuba diving forum: "If otherwise fit, divers who, have a normal response to exercise, can dive if they have mild cirrhosis, with no symptoms or secondary complications. Before diving, they should be evaluated by their physicians. In cases where cirrhosis is more severe, the rigors of scuba and the effects of the disease could impair a diver’s ability. In such cases, scuba is not recommended". I'm not medically trained but would think that portal hypertension, enlarged spleen and varices count as 'symptoms and secondary complications'.

  • Hi Bolly,

    Thank you for this- very helpful! I think I'd agree that these count as 'symptoms and secondary complications'. I'll stick to snorkelling!!


  • Hi Katie,

    Thank you for your response. I was not aware of the sodium levels in bottled water. Do you know if it would be better to take water purification tablets to use in the water?



  • I don't know Jenni, we don't holiday abroad it was just that another forum member sadly lost her husband during a foreign holiday, he had a little pre-existing ascites which wasn't obvious or identified by hospital at the time of their trip and he drunk bottle water whilst away and it possibly contributed to a major ascites build up and further complications. Perhaps a pharmacist or again your specialist would be able to advise and I am in no way an expert it is just something that i'd seen along the way. Check labels for sodium content etc.

    All the best, enjoy you hols.


  • Ask yourself. Is your health more precious than skindiving?

  • Who did you get insurance with please? I'm going on holiday out of EU I'm a little nervous. Ring you liver consultants secretary, there phone number is usually on top of letters they send, and ask them. Or the clinic I attended has a nurse you can ring, if this is an option for you its worth a try. Have fun Egypt is lovely, depending on where you go the fish swim up around your knees its beautiful.

  • I got insurance through holiday extras, I also emailed the British Liver Trust who are able to send a list of insurers for people with medical conditions. It was pricier than regular holiday insurance but that was expected! I'm really excited, it's a much needed holiday!

  • I went abroad 6 months post transplant. I used All Clear, cost about £80 for 10 days.

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