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SteveD

Athletes wth Heart Stents

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At 48 and after 11 years of IM racing have just had a heart stent insert into LAD. Must admit came as a shock and still mentally coming to terms with it - after some heart issues went for cardio tests lasts Wed and in hospital Sat. I currently live in Singapore - orignally from oz - and the Cardiologist says he has no data in relation as to whether it is safe to return to triathlon let alone IM so is advising against it. I'm searching for medical research as well as personal experiences in relation to returning to active sport . Would greatly appreciate any input or contacts you guys might know of that I can discuss with my cardio.

 

cheers

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SteveD..

 

2004 I had heart attack during a club tri.....Had angiogram and they found 70-80% blockage in Left coronary artery...A stent was inserted and I completed IM WA 9 months later....Did the same time as I did Forster in 2003....

I treated the training as Rehab.....Just took my time and didn't push to hard. Cardiologist was a little wary about it at first...but was ok when he realised it was what I wanted to do, and didn't appear to be doing any harm...I had Stress test every 6 months...and continue to do so....Plus still take medication..Asprin/Plavix/Metoprolol.

I have not had another episode since....

 

Hope this helps a ;little...I know of few people who have trouble coming to terms with what has happened...not all of them athletes either.....

The way I looked at it was that it had happened, and there was nothing I could do to change that..But, I could decide to get on with lifeand not worry a to much about it...This is what I have done...It is difficult at first, because you "over analyse" yourself, when training....I found I was continually examining how I felt during a run. swim or ride...However this diminished over time...Now I don't think about it...The only reminder is my wife...She still won't let me leave home without the mobile phone....

 

Hope this helps...

Rob

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At 56 and after 12 odd years of Ironman and heaps of "normal" tri's I had my Heart "episode" either just before or during the bike leg of this years Oz Ironman.

 

Heaps of tests - angiogram showed a complete blockage and another 30% blockage above the complete blockage. The complete blockage had been there for some time as other capillaries had taken over the "job" of the blocked artery.

 

Had my stress test this week and it showed that the old heart is not getting enough blood because of the blockage - the capillaries that had taken over while doing an "adequate" job of distrubting blood aroung the heart muscle were found to be a little lacking under stress.

 

My GP is now talking bypass surgery as an option. I cannot see a bloody heart specialist until mid Sept but my GP is trying on my behalf to get me in earlier.

 

Still not allowed any exercise other than walking.

 

Man I guess I am STILL trying to get my head around the whole thing,I know there is nothing I can do about it but it does your head in believe me!

 

Had this really strange feeling after getting out of hospital that my heart felt sort of foreign and I was terrified to do anything at all - thankfully that has pased and I am now walking nearly every day up to 2 hours.

 

Was happy to see that as I waited on the tredmill to do my stress test my heat rate was 41 - not too bad after doing practically nil exercise for 8 weeks.

 

Anyway life goes on.

 

And yeah my partner is the same with the mobile - I even have to take it with me when I go fishing!!!!! I leave it in the car but don't tell her that eh!

 

Am also on medication (first time in my life) and even that is hard to take in. Gp reckons I will be on medication forever but we will see about that!!!

 

Gp also said that if the specialist recommends bypass then after the op I will be able to do basically whatever I want but will need to be stress tested every so often.

 

 

So I guess it's the same go with a stent - once it's in everything should be back to normal except for the medication and testing.

 

TIM

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We had a bit of a heart/blood scare last week - :lol: sluggo had to pull out of Cairns Challenge coz he had some serious pain in his chest/lungs! We both thought it was asthma related!! After 20+ years of tri's - it was one of the most difficult things he's ever had to do, coz he was so fit and healthy for the race! Turns out it was the best decision he'd ever made!

 

Last Wed he started getting a sore calf, which kept getting worse. We thought it was just a tear in the calf, so he went to a sports dr on Friday. Sports dr is concerned, as there is no bruising around the area, and it's so incredibly painful to touch, so he doesn't think it's a tear. He does some investigation into :D sluggo's past, and discovers this incident in Cairns! So he does a "House" and sends him off for an ultra-sound on the calf to see if it's actually a blood clot!!!! :D

 

Turns out his "House" moment was very accurate, he had a DVT in the calf, and after a load of tests/scans etc they discovered he also had clots in his lungs which would have been the reason why he had so much chest/lung pain in Cairns! Two dr's told him that pulling out was the best decision he'd ever made!

 

They have since found some damage to his heart as well, which they are no sure if it's an actual heart issue, or if it's just the fact that IM training is so strenuous that it thickens the walls of the heart! He has to go and get a non-invasive angiogram in July!!!!

 

Scary thing is - he's only just turned 43 and up until last Friday was as fit as a fiddle! You just never know what's going on inside the body!

 

:lol:

 

PS - sorry I couldn't answer your question Steve, but I do know that the dr's we saw said they don't want to change :D sluggo's lifestyle too much, and he will be able to do tri's again - not so sure about IM racing, but after so many years, I don't think he's all that worried!!!!

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Cardio's have often freaked over the thickness of athletes hearts, it's a pretty normal adaption that you'd expect to see in someone who is training for an Ironman. Pro Cyclists usually record the greatest differences in heart wall thickness. I'm thinking this is probably not an issue for him excluding anything else.

 

Steve I believe there is quite a few people running around out there with stents in.

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I ride with a guy that has a pacemaker and after some initial calibration he goes all right on the bike still. He doesn't run any more. Slightly different problem; electrical as opposed to plumbing but what they can fix up today is pretty good, take heart.

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I have a friend who at the age of 33 years of age had a 90% blocked LAD. He got chest pains whilst riding his bike and rode to emergency!

 

After a stent and a few months off the bike, he got back on, and resumed normal competitive activities... Riding just as strong as before.

 

This isn't advice to say get back into training, just an example that lots of people do.. and do so with no problems.

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Sorry for the late reply Steved....Been to busy at work...

 

No...not still doing IM....not because of the heart problem though...Just decided that IM isn't that great a thing to be doing....Have done a few Half IM's and some shorter events, plus a ride from Qld back to Sydney on my own.......Spent a lot of weekends as a TO at events....Putting something back into the sport....

 

Cheers Rob...

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I'm searching for medical research as well as personal experiences in relation to returning to active sport .

 

i overheard a couple of guys at the local crits talking about their stents just yesterday

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I had to rescue a guy in the pool yesterday morning after seeing him start to slowly sink to the bottom. Luckily his pacemaker kicked in once I brought him to the surface and no CPR was required (apparently it's happened before). My advice would be to live life normally but do not swim alone!

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At 48 and after 11 years of IM racing have just had a heart stent insert into LAD. Must admit came as a shock and still mentally coming to terms with it - after some heart issues went for cardio tests lasts Wed and in hospital Sat. I currently live in Singapore - orignally from oz - and the Cardiologist says he has no data in relation as to whether it is safe to return to triathlon let alone IM so is advising against it. I'm searching for medical research as well as personal experiences in relation to returning to active sport . Would greatly appreciate any input or contacts you guys might know of that I can discuss with my cardio.

 

cheers

 

Steve...do you have a written report on the Cardiac Catheterisation. Doc should review that, looking for any evidence of disease in the Circumflex or RCA...Right Coronary Artery.

 

Since your Doc doesn't want to put himself on the line, me neither....but I would go for an exercise tolerance test...somewhere around 3-4 months post op. They should look for EKG changes which would be indicative of ischemia....or nothing. I would do that before undertaking any serious training

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It seems that no one really knows how long you need to take time off before beginning active exercise after having a stent

inserted.  I am a competitive runner who is scheduled for a possible stent, and cannot get an honest answer as to when I will

be able to resume both distance and speed workouts.  It is always "check with your doctor", and I am not sure if the doctors

even know.  My best guess at this point, is that real hard workouts can begin probably within 6 to 8 weeks, barring any

stent type complications, which I am now reading could be many.  Not sure if I even want to go through this process just

to get back to the mile/5k times I was running a year ago before breathing issues began.  Harold Nolan

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I had a pfo closure done about 6 weeks ago, and at my follow-up next week I'll be asking if I can ramp the activity up.  I never really asked about how long to take off activity, but I've kept up easy walking and Yoga and a couple of bike rides.  But I'm keen to get back to the tough riding group, and maybe some swim squad and both those take my HR to max.  

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Just listen to imtalk interview with a guy from the northern beaches. 

Amazing really. Had the heart attack at the club champs at something like 2:45pm and he the stint in by 3.30

dont hold me to those times. But it was amazingly fast. 

The only bit I struggled with is he and his mates get up and go training at 230am. 

Ffs. Don’t tell @AP 

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20 minutes ago, Peter said:

The only bit I struggled with is he and his mates get up and go training at 230am. 

Ffs. Don’t tell @AP 

There's a 2.30 in the morning?? !!!

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26 minutes ago, Peter said:

Just listen to imtalk interview with a guy from the northern beaches. 

Amazing really. Had the heart attack at the club champs at something like 2:45pm and he the stint in by 3.30

dont hold me to those times. But it was amazingly fast. 

Would have and should have been even quicker if TriNSW had a decent emergency response team on deck 

Fortunately for the gentleman in question there was a queue of fellow athletes lined up within half a minute ready to give CPR, including an emergency doctor from Bathurst tri club which just happened to be in the tent next door

Edited by IronJimbo

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1 hour ago, Greyman said:

There's a 2.30 in the morning?? !!!

I remember there was a 230am back in the early 1990s. Not seen it since. 

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Stents will save your life if you are having a heart attack.  The evidence on whether they will prevent a heart attack is less certain.  Recent studies indicate that for chest pain less invasive treatment such as medication, lifestyle changes etc have a less risky yet equal outcome.  One of the double blind studies they did

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/when-do-you-need-a-heart-stent

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1 hour ago, Cat Lady said:

Stents will save your life if you are having a heart attack.  The evidence on whether they will prevent a heart attack is less certain.  Recent studies indicate that for chest pain less invasive treatment such as medication, lifestyle changes etc have a less risky yet equal outcome.  One of the double blind studies they did

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/when-do-you-need-a-heart-stent

I have a couple of stents and after I got the first one I felt a million times better. My body just worked afterwards and I felt a lot better instantly. 

I too had the conversation around medication but the big problem there is cost and side effects over omg period.

Lifestyle changes were also big for me, as a result I do a bit of exercise, but only about 30% of what I used to do. Every time I ramp it up I start having issues again. 

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Having a coffee & raisin toast in the cafe at Tamworth Base Hospital right now, while the Mrs is having an angiogram.  Might know more about stents after this.  This is a much flasher hospital than Armidale.

The butter they slathered on my toast, they must be scouting for more patients.  I scraped most of it off 🤨

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6 minutes ago, ComfortablyNumb said:

Having a coffee & raisin toast in the cafe at Tamworth Base Hospital right now, while the Mrs is having an angiogram.  Might know more about stents after this.  This is a much flasher hospital than Armidale.

The butter they slathered on my toast, they must be scouting for more patients.  I scraped most of it off 🤨

good luck

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2 hours ago, ComfortablyNumb said:

All clear apparently :blink:  Bizarre given the symptoms & her GP was sure they'd find a blockage?

Of course the bad news for her is she's now got no excuse to ride with me on Sunday in the forecast 8 deg gale with snow.

Mt Cootha in the rain - pfttttt.

 

In truth, I think it will be windtrainer on the deck :blush:

 

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Freaking cardiac issues are a bitch,

sit at home and be scared or "screw it all" and go for a jog

had months of that last year - even did noosa (but gently) finally after the big four tests my cardio gave me an all-clear (but see you again in 12 months....) at this point in time they say "athletically enlarged" but it was a rollercoaster six months between the GP saying nill exercise and the cardio eventually saying "go live life" (put on 15kg, took six months off from the Masters etc)

meanwhile the second of my four 20 ish yo kids just got an ICD for HCM (non occlusive (so far)) - so two bionic kids out of four - one of each gender (out of two of each gender) - not supprised at #2 he gulps enough caffeine to ban a racehorse during his manny all-night gaming sessions, the other may have been linked to being a 24weeker (aka premmie) but she was monitored intensively for her first 4 years and eventually given the all-clear. It never showed till adolescence and then we just thought she was lazy (exercise made her feel sick)....  genetic testing pending. 

I'd quiz my old man as he had a quad bypass a few years back after going in for a femoral stent (if hed know he would prob have taken more than a toothbrush with him to the hospital), unfortunately, the bastard has pissed off to the Philippines as my mum's dementia was ruining his retirement plans (it's a great birthday card moment - happy birthday son, bought you a watch in Singapore, but by the way your mother & my divorce became final last week and the new wife will be moving in (mum signed the forms without really knowing :( ) had to take him to court to force a property settlement on behalf of my mum - needless to say we no longer talk (esp after immigration refused his new wife's entry permit so he skipped the country (turns out he had already moved the bulk of their SMSF there))

It's enough to change one's perception of the beauty of growing old screw it, I'd rather go racing and run the risk of one-day finishing before the finish line. But then again someone has to take mum flowers and chocs in the nursing home....

Live long and prosper folks, I'm off to bed - got a little run in the morning, then the day job, hopefully a swim on the way home, then an assig to write, a PD day on Sat for the second job at Uni (will try for a bit of a ride after I drive down there), then run and a lecture to write on Sunday and on to the next week :) see if you keep really busy the black dog can't find you...

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7 hours ago, trifun said:

Freaking cardiac issues are a bitch,

sit at home and be scared or "screw it all" and go for a jog

 

Yup, the cardiac surgeon, her GP and myself would have bet the house on it being a blockage - esp since she had one in her external illiac artery fixed a few years ago - but he said her heart arteries looked great.

So next step an echocardiogram to check the valves, as there is a murmur (mitral valve) there.  Or maybe it was just a virus affecting her heart?

All of these problems have only come to light because she runs.  None of them show up on the bike which is weird?

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does anyone who had stents take meds??  my specialist who was a very overweight chap, said to take it forever but more for precautionary reasons.  if I don't take it for a few days, doing most runs, (intervals/uptempo/long runs) my heart rate certainly differs, and I can't find much research about beta blockers and exercise effects. 

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17 minutes ago, Prince said:

does anyone who had stents take meds??  my specialist who was a very overweight chap, said to take it forever but more for precautionary reasons.  if I don't take it for a few days, doing most runs, (intervals/uptempo/long runs) my heart rate certainly differs, and I can't find much research about beta blockers and exercise effects. 

My Mrs is now on beta-blockers & says her HR is def lower, though she has not yet had a chance to exercise hard on them, but should know more in a few days when she can get back into it.

Interestingly, given her genetics, the cardiac surgeon said our kids (aged 23 & 25) should be on statins!  FFS I think that is a bit extreme.  Maybe annual cholesterol tests might be more appropriate?

Mind you, the surgeon who fixed her blocked external illiac artery said he'd put statins in the water supply if he could.

And I've just started blood pressure meds, as I had 24hrs on a BP monitor which showed mild hypertension (high BP).  Be interesting to see if it makes me feel any different.  My last session on the MTB felt like a 'no-chain' day!

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After completing 3 full distance ironman events over the last 8 years and also finishing Edinburgh marathon in less than 4 hours I was diagnosed with a severe blockage in my LAD.

Knocked me for six!!  I had 3 stents fitted in Feb this year.  My cardiologist booked me for an exercise test  2 months after the procedure as I was desperate to start exercising but very worried about the risk.  Basically you're wired up to an ECG and BP monitor and then put on a treadmill which is then increased in speed and incline until your HR is above 150.  You're then held there for about 15 mins whilst everything is recorded 

I passed with flying colours and then had the confidence to gradually start cycling and swimming again.

It's a mental condition more than anything.  Ask about getting an exercise test like this to make sure you're given the all clear to get exercise again.

I now take aspirin, blood thinners and statins; but hopefully I'll be weened off then eventually...

Keith

Edited by Keith

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Geezus, so are all these heart problems hereditary or is long course stuff really that bad for us?? 

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On 08/08/2019 at 7:55 AM, willie said:

I have a couple of stents and after I got the first one I felt a million times better. My body just worked afterwards and I felt a lot better instantly. 

I too had the conversation around medication but the big problem there is cost and side effects over omg period.

Lifestyle changes were also big for me, as a result I do a bit of exercise, but only about 30% of what I used to do. Every time I ramp it up I start having issues again. 

You might find this article fairly interesting.  

https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/orbita-another-clinical-trial-demonstrating-the-need-for-sham-controls-in-surgical-trials/

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It's that bad ;)

At my doc's the other day she told me that I'll be on the aspirin and statin for life.  But ATM can stop the blood thinner in November.

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Some key recent research  on high levels of exercise and hearts

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.028750

and longer article about longitudinal study (paywall)

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/article-abstract/2722746

and Conclusion

 

Quote

 

Conclusions and Relevance:

This study suggests there is evidence that high levels of physical activity (≥3000 MET-min/wk) are associated with prevalent CAC but are not associated with increased all-cause or CVD mortality after a decade of follow-up, even in the presence of clinically significant CAC levels.

 

 

Also an interview (audio) with Ben Levine, an author of above

https://edhub.ama-assn.org/jn-learning/audio-player/17206636

 

There was another forum thread a while back (although this one is 2011 :)) about hearts where it was mentioned John Hill, often an age group winner/placer, now in 60-64, had a stent put in.  He was competing afterwards.

I'm particularly interested now as also affected, with high CAC, some CAD, although no stents, and low HR (30ish at times at night). Lifetime mid-range, exerciser. Took it up a major notch with ironman the last decade, although I got out a couple of years ago when IM Melbourne stopped.

 

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I just had 2 stents put in, due to 60-70% blockage in Left artery.   Dr. Said I could resume my normal lifestyle including biking, just to take it slowly at first.  

So I sit here scared/worried after that comment, & obviously him saving me from a heart attack (widow’s) 😔

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