Returning to Training After Heart Attack - Stent Fitment

Mar 12, 2009
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I am hoping to find some advice regarding return to training following a heart attack and subsequent fitting of a stent? Advice seems very hard to come by from official channels as I fall outside of the normal NHS (UK) model.
I have finished 4 Ironman Tri's (last one July 2010), ridden numerous TT's, Etapes, RVV's, triathlons, marathons and pre Heart attack trained consistently 8 - 12 hours a week inclusive swims and a little running. I am now 53.
On December 1st my chest felt like it had caught fire and I was rushed into hospital, and had a stent fitted to my right heart feed artery as I had a blockage and blood clot stopping the flow. I hadn't realised I had been ill for a long period, probably 18 months as my performances in TT's etc had really started to drop off, was finding the Club run hard and was aware of a faint background feeling in my chest. I had convinced myself that it was all due to me putting on 6 kgs though and ignored it and vowed to loose weight. Further more I had not had a cholesterol test for years and years as I don't eat cheese, eggs and have had fully skimmed milk for 15 years. However, it has turned out my liver generates excessive cholesterol on its own accord!.....and thats what blocked me up.
Anyway thats the background, now the problem. I obviously want to return as soon as possible to riding (I have pulled out of IM Austria 2011 in July for obvious reasons) but no one seems to want to give me advice. The best I can get is that I should do 3 x 30 mins sessions a week.......... ummm
I have been doing some single speed flattish rides of 1 hour a few times each week, and I'm training with heart rate at lower level 1, constantly watching it. It all seems great, and in fact I feel 100% better than I have for a very long time. Rather like having a new engine. However, I don't want to compromise my return, and not sure what I can achieve medium and longer term. I have entries for the Nove Colli in Italy in late May, The Dragon Ride in June and the L'eroica in October. Is this too much too soon?
Is there anyone out there who has had this procedure, and if so any advice please.
 
Jul 20, 2010
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That is a horrifying story and as a 50yo it has certainly given me pause for thought. I have no personal experience I can give you but I suspect if I were in your position I would be taking things very slowly. Start with short low impact rides and steadily make them longer and harder while under full supervision of your cardiologist.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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I have a mate who returned to first race after tripple bypass he thought he would never race again at 74yo but his form was good he showed it is the final sprint . I led him out at 65kmh up hill sprint when he came over me.

Try to get the statin drugs to minimum better to see a sport specialist cardiologist not mant around but you can find them. start training slowly and keep it under 75% hr and you will know when its time to pick it up with some extra efforts
 
Mar 14, 2010
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Ask your cardiologist about this cardiologist. Dr Esselstyn.

http://www.heartattackproof.com

This is his book that has clinical studies proving his dietary and lifestyle methods. Beware of fad diet books telling you to eat MORE cholesterol and saturated fat to get heart healthy. Dr Esselstyn has published his findings in the American Journal of Cardiology. Thats the highest approval you can get from your Cardiologist peers.

 
Jul 6, 2009
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durianrider said:
Ask your cardiologist about this cardiologist. Dr Esselstyn.

http://www.heartattackproof.com

This is his book that has clinical studies proving his dietary and lifestyle methods. Beware of fad diet books telling you to eat MORE cholesterol and saturated fat to get heart healthy. Dr Esselstyn has published his findings in the American Journal of Cardiology. Thats the highest approval you can get from your Cardiologist peers.

the china study is just that a study on one group of people who have eaten certain ways for thousands of years which there now genetically predisposed to do well with. this type of diet on someone of basque or eskimo background would be quite bad for them long term. your way is your way and not every ones way to top health whether you accept that or not. different blood types and genetic dietary backgrounds make big differences in how we process various foods. i would be sick as a dog as a vegan plus i hate anemia low testosterone and water retention.
 
Feb 13, 2011
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Gary: I actually mirror your situation, although I was just 42 when I had two stents implanted. It's be six years since then, and there really isn't a specific post-stents exercise regime, really. You may be on beta-blockers, which could act as a "governor" on your heart rate (I stopped those three years ago). If you are, then you should be mindful of how long you're spending at/near your red zone.

I don't race but I like to go hard--without fear of an "internal malfunction." My doc has cleared me to do what I like with a reminder to always listen closely to what my body is telling me. So, I don't "push through the pain" like the old days. Small price to pay, I say.

Hope that helps a bit.
 
Mar 12, 2009
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Thanks for the reply, that is kind of you. The first person I have located so far with this problem. Luckily I am not on Beta Blockers as I have (or had when I was training!!!) a very low heart rate, resting sub 40.

Its comforting to hear that you are able to give it some beans, how long after the operation did you start increasing training loads?

Thanks again!
 
Jul 20, 2010
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brianf7 said:
I have a mate who returned to first race after tripple bypass he thought he would never race again at 74yo but his form was good he showed it is the final sprint . I led him out at 65kmh up hill sprint when he came over me.
Tell him there is a contract at HTC waiting for him.
 
Feb 13, 2011
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Gary613 said:
It's comforting to hear that you are able to give it some beans, how long after the operation did you start increasing training loads?

Thanks again!
I didn't wait long. Perhaps two months. But, again, a quick call to your cardiologist answers that question better.
 
Mar 26, 2010
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Returning to training after a heart attack

I'm a 69 year old lifelong bikie. I raced for many years as a first cat and time trialled to a very respectable level as well. I gave up racing about five years ago after contracting asthma (now fully controlled) but continued with various world wide touring trips, still doing at least 10,000 miles per year. In September I completed the Route des Grande Alpes from Lac Leman to Menton on the Med in a week, at least two major passes per day.
Over the years I had experienced extremely infrequent short periods of cardiac arrythmia, including one whilst on that Alpes trip, so I contacted my doctor upon my return and commenced a series of tests and evaluations.
The conclusion was I had slight thickening of the heart wall and a small leak in the right ventricle valve. Nothing to worry about at my age - just carry on, I had a typically strong 'athletes heart'. I was fitted with a monitor for a three day test which I wore for two quite tough Sat/Sun rides which covered two very tough climbs. No problems.
On the morning of Saturday 6th November I suffered a heart attack!
I awoke at around 7 am feeling as though I had indigestion, no pain, just a bit of discomfort. I had breakfast and set out to meet the club for the regular ride. On the way I decided I was not going very well and so announced that I probably wouldn't go too far. The ride set out, fortunately going past my house, and I couldn't keep up so I peeled off home. Still with the 'indigestion'. I gradually felt worse through the morning. I finally decided something was wrong and rang the NHS (National Health Service) Help Line and they quickly diagnosed that I should get to my nearest emergency hospital for assessment. To even call 999 for an ambulance. As the hospital is not too far away I got my wife to come home, she was out shopping, and to take me straightaway.
A quick evaluation when I got there and they said they would send me to the nearest cardiac unit, in Oxford. An ambulance was called and it was twenty miles with full blue lights and sirens! I finally began to realise that it was serious.
In no time at all I had an angiogram which revealed an occlusion and angioplasty to fit a stent in my right coronary artery.
Very quickly in the ICU I felt much better.
Blood tests revealed that my cholesterol was low so I asked the doctors why did it happen when I was also so fit, and not overweight. They don't know why, sometimes it just happens, possibly something hereditary.
I then saw a cardiologist who reviewed the print out of the three day monitoring I had undergone. I explained the two enormous peaks in my heart rate from the hard climbs and he said that he thought that my arrythmia and heart attack were probably unrelated - one's electrical and the other's plumbing! I think I understood that. This was some three weeks after the attack and he said I should get back to exercising straight away although no maximal efforts as per the climbs for another two or three weeks.
So I started on the turbo gently to get the legs turning and was soon out on the road. I am now planning to get at least back to the level I was at before. Maybe even a bit better - I wasn't riding the Alpes as strongly as I felt I ought and just maybe I was starting to suffer the effects of the occlusion. Now that the weather has bucked up a bit and I have returned from a holiday and am getting over a cold I am sure I can start training again properly.
It would appear you had a similar problem to me and the only advice I can give would be to listen to your body, do not be afraid, gradually increase your training, don't worry and enjoy your bike.
All the best.
 
Mar 26, 2010
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Returning to training after a heart attack

Sorry I didn't answer your question fully.
If I were you I would ride the shorter Nove Colli (I'm familiar with the Riccione cycling), do the Dragon Ride and L'Eroica. You'll be fine.
 
Oct 8, 2009
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Brilliant story, OBG - I am doing the we're not worthy gesture in front of the computer!!
Also nice (as an NHS employee of some 28 years) to hear a tale of what the NHS does best!
 
Jul 10, 2011
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searching like u for answers

72 years old. 2 stints, implanted cardiac device 12/2009. riding 150 miles per week. training for 5 day ride. runner for 32 years. 67 marathons. 8, 100 mile mountain runs. resting pulse while running=36-38. ICD controling r p to above 40. est max hr from standard equation=150. extended release metoprolol. doc recomends add 25 mg quick release before hard ride to avoid "a fib". struggling to get rate above 120. (fear?) hope for some answers for both of us. danger of kiliing myself? CLEVELAND CLINIC docs gave green light to approach VO-2 max calculated. no gurantees. "on your own" "we have not enough data on people like you"
 
Jul 11, 2011
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gillian

Have been so inspired by your stories. Just taken up cycling recently so very new to it. I have a product which is commonly used in the Netherlands by cyclists and if anyone would like to have some free products please email me at gill.sandford@starbalm.co.uk It is for warming balm/spray/massage oils for overworked muscles and cold therapy for injuries.

Keep inspiring us newbies !
 
Mar 14, 2010
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Hey 44. You say vegans means automatic anemia, low testosterone and water retention then how come after 10 years Im the fittest of my life?



How come when you google 'vegan blood tests' that my blood tests come up and they show ALL of my iron profiles and testosterone levels and they are ALWAYS great? How come?

You need to turn off the TV and pick up the China Study so you dont get suckered into buying a new bike to save 60g off the steerer tube when you got 6 lbs of cow glute(steak) still sitting in the colon.

Something to think about eh?
 

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