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Exercise, Sport, Physical Activity After Stent (2008 archive)

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How much exercise, sports or physical activity have you been able to do after stenting or angioplasty?

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Current Postings on This Page (38):

• I am a 26 year old Pilates instructor and currently training for a strong man competition. I was told last week I need a pacemaker and that I am in a level 2 heart block. I need a Doctor that works with young athletes, I have not been able to find anyone who cares about my activity level. If anyone has any advice I'd really appreciate it.
Jas, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA, December 28, 2008

• I had posted last on January 21, 2008 and my main question posted has anyone with 6 stents or more continued to run. Well, I have my answer, I have. I now run 3 miles, 5 days per week for the entire year. 3 weeks ago I competed in my 1st 5K (3.1 miles) and finished in 24:40. When I finished I was not out of breath whatsoever and felt as good as I did 20 years ago (I'm now 50). My cholesterol remains under 100 and my HDL is in the mid forties. So, any of the readers of this post want the answer to can I exercise or run after most cases, absolutely!
David B., Covington, Louisiana, USA, December 4, 2008

• To all posters in this topic looking for specific advice as to diet, exercise, etc. -- while there are general recommendations in terms of these activities, each patient has individual needs and capacities. That's why it is so important to have a doctor, preferably a cardiologist, evaluate your specific clinical situation and make recommendations that will suit you. Some individuals are able to run for miles and do marathons after stenting; some should not try to push themselves in that direction because they may have other issues that will strain the heart muscle. That is why we on Angioplasty.Org do not make recommendations (other than global obvious ones) for specific patients. See your doctor. We also urge posters to report back what they find out so others may benefit.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 30, 2008

• Hi, I am S.Nair from Bombay India, I underwent Angioplasty of my RCA which had 100% block, now I have a stent installed too.Can some one tell me from experience what are things I must take care can I still suffer from a Heart disease again?
Sudharsanan Nair, Intellvisions Software, India, November 24, 2008

• Am 53 yrs old and have been following a strict diet/exercise regimen for more than 25 yrs. None of the usual parameters (BP, Cholesterol, BMI etc) indicated CAD. However, during my annual check up the TMT was +ve for angina. Angiogram indicated 90% block in LAD. Should i go for angioplasty?
Sudhir, Ministry of Health, Delhi, India, November 18, 2008

• I am 49. I had a drug eluting stent placed on 11/04/08. It was a 3.5mm put in my RCA. How long do I have to wait before I can start walking on the treadmill?
Davi, Idaho, USA, November 7, 2008

• Neil -- your determination to make "lifestyle" changes is to be admired. I, too, have seen such changes in a friend of mine. He suffered a heart attack one year ago -- he got to a cath lab and the docs saw two completely occluded arteries which they did not attempt to open. The blockages were old and chronic occlusions and collateral circulation had developed (probably some time ago) to fill the need. Anyway, he got two stents in the artery that caused the MI and started (or was started by his concerned wife!) to lose weight and exercise daily -- a morning walk of a mile plus every day! He says he feels better and has more energy than he can remember -- and at the end of a recent walk we had together, he was just fine, but I was winded. Guess I need to take my own advice.... Congratulations and keep us informed on your progress!
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 5, 2008

• Hi, I'm a 50 year-old who had angioplasty to correct a 99% blockage in my LAD in June. I had 2 2.5mm Taxus stents put in (12mm and 24mm). The day after the procedure, I went for a walk up a hill for 3/4 of a mile and felt great. Previous to the procedure, I experienced class 2 angina at around 130 bps HR after about 3 minutes of exertion on that same hill. I have been increasing my mileage on foot as well on wheels. I commonly reach 160 bps HR and occasionally reach 170 bps (approx. 100% of maximum HR). I have not experienced any symptoms out of the ordinary. I am taking 40mg of Lipitor, 75mg Plavix, and 325 of EC aspirin. I weighed about 180 pounds prior to the onset of angina symptoms and I have lost 22 pounds since then, mainly through calorie restriction and more or less following a Mediterranean diet. I have cut out almost all "red" meat intake and eat mainly fish, shrimp, tofu and chicken. I eat a lot of salads for lunch and have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast daily. I did 2 marathons in 1997 and 1998, and feel that I could do another one, but I'm not sure my knees can take it. The people that I work with are amazed with the weight loss and I feel really good about what I have been able to accomplish. I hope to be able to continue the weight loss until I reach 150 pounds, which was my college weight. My doctor had been bugging me about changing my diet to reduce my weight and my cholesterol level (averaging about 240 for the past 20 years) but didn't do anything until I "got religion". I'm sorry that it took getting sick to change my diet and lifestyle, but I guess it's better late than never.
Neil, Hawaii, USA, November 2, 2008

• My husband had angioplasty in August 2008. He had put 3 stents put in. He has got arrhythmia and high blood pressure. Please guide me the proper diet for him with diet chart and some vegetarian recipes. He has to reduce weight so daily he walks for an hour. He takes only fruit in breakfast, chapatti and vegetable in lunch and takes 2 toast made of whole meal bread at 5 o'clock in the evening. Is it proper for him?
Pranoti Jathal, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, October 23, 2008

• Joe -- what did your cardiologist say when you asked the question? He/she must have had some opinion.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, September 21, 2008

• I just had 3 stents on 09/12 as of today 09/17 no one will tell me if i can resume my weight lifting and mountain hiking which I do 3 times/week.
Joe, Massachusetts, USA, September 17, 2008

• Marcus -- did your cardiologst offer any reason for this prohibition? There may be specific reasons but, you know, there have been professional sports figures, even Vice Presidents of the United States, who have had stents placed and are continuing their lives. We certainly do not promote countering your doctor's recommendations, but if you are not satisfied with your situation, by all means question your cardiologist so that you are clear about why he/she made these recommendations.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, August 22, 2008

• I had a drug eluting stent inserted 6 months ago, following a CT multislice scan that showed 90% blockage. I've never had any symptoms whatsoever - breathlessness, chest pain, etc. My doctor prohibited me from doing any exercise other than walking or moderate running for the rest of my life. This seem to contrast with the advice people seem to have received in this forum. Has anyone been given the same type of advice?
Marcus, Brazil, August 19, 2008

• I'm a 45 yr old firefighter and had a heart attack and stent placed in my right coronary artery 15 May 2008. I live in Italy and I'm being treated by an Italian Doctor. They say I should do walking, jogging, biking, etc. but no weight lifting. I've had no complications so far. Is this normal? Please send any info to
Rick Pullin, Pisa, Italy, July 13, 2008

• I had a stent put through my groin a little over a year ago for an artery of my heart. Somehow scar tissue formed in the groin area. Being a runner all my life, I find it difficult to run any more. My knee aches, also my heel behind my ankle of my left foot. Sometimes if I try and run a little too long my foot will go to sleep (pins & needles). I can also go up stairs, two at a time, but I have a hard time walking down stairs. I am on several heart and blood thinning medications since my heart attack eighteen months ago. Can you give my advice as to what I can do to eliminate some of my problems? Is there something I can do about this.
Joseph R Galante, Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada, June 30, 2008

• How can I reduce weight. I am 5'-7",weight 75kgs
Joy Bose, India, May 17, 2008

• Dia and Rizwan -- sometimes a feeling of weakness or fatigue can be caused by one of the medications typically given to heart patients. In any case, you should consult your interventional cardiologist about these feelings. And ECG will diagnose any abnormal electrical activity in the heart, but that's fairly limited.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 8, 2008

• Hi am 44 yrs. I got angioplasty done on18th March 2008 i am feeling better but i do have some choking in the throat & sometimes i feel tired walking also my left hand pains a dull pain. The left arm feels weak & sometimes it pains sometimes when i chant my prayers i feel tired i got my ECG done it was fine. do these symptoms go or how long do they stay?
Dia, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 7, 2008

• 10 months ago I got my angioplasty done, two stents were used. Since then I am working normally, taking normal diet but getting weaker and weaker day by day. What's the reason behind that ??
Rizwan Khan, Jeddah University, Karachi/-/Sindh/Pakistan, April 25, 2008

• Cardiolite stress testing (a.k.a. nuclear stress testing) is a functional test that shows any "perfusion deficit" -- lack of blood flow to the heart muscle. It's not 100% accurate, but few tests are. Increasingly some cardiologists feel that a multislice CT scan can more accurately diagnose the presence of coronary artery disease. Beyond that another angiogram, using intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) would be even more accurate, but these procedures all have some risk associated with them (CT has some radiation exposure, about the same or less than a Cardiolite test; an angiogram -- well you know, you've recently had one.) Ask your cardiologist and explain your concerns. Anxiety can affect your health. Piece of mind is a very important, and often overlooked, therapy.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 13, 2008

• Please help me. I am a 54 year old firefighter who has been doing semi intense cardio training for years. I was engaged in a strenuous drill at work when I felt be even in my neck and left shoulder. The discomfort went away but reappeared during my cycling and speed walking routines. Of course I attributed this discomfort in my left arm, shoulder and neck as some kind of neuro problem associated with the drill at work. However, the problem intensified in the arm two weeks later, I went for a cardiolite stress test, and they found 90% blockage of my LAD. The next day a Taxus Express 2 stent. Started "Mall Walking" with the wife 4 days later. Still felt some discomfort in left arm and redid the cardiolite -- showed normal so I began to resume more strenuous activity. My questions are: 1 - The cardiologist says its OK to work my way back to original fitness regiment, Rehab Nurse says normal exercise range is now 40 beats over walking into the clinic heart rate which is 85 plus 40 = 125. I used to keep average heart rate when taking spin classes at 142. What's the general consensus? I am currently on Plavix, Toprol XL, and aspirin, 2 - I feel a strange feeling in left forearm/hand - icy hot feeling when heart rate gets over 125. Is this normal? a) should I insist on a different test to insure the LAD is fully open over and beyond the cardiolite, maybe a CAT scan- before I return to full work duty?
Scott, Los Angeles, California, USA, April 7, 2008

• I had a stent put in 2 months ago and am keen to return to my previous exercise levels, including running marathons. However my GP has banned me from running until my blood pressure reduces from 150/90 - it was 140/80 before stenting. I can't understand why it has not decreased as I now take a 5mg of Lisinopril daily, now to be increased to 10mg. Do I need to try something different, such the non-drug methods advertised?
Hugh, United Kingdom, April 3, 2008

• I am 58 year old male. Had chest pain for 6 months. They could not find the problem. Finally last week they did a nuclear stress test. They found a blockage in artery. 2 days later i had stent put in. That was 6 days ago, Haven't had a cigarette in 6 days longest I have ever gone. I'm having night sweats though -- wake up soaked. but feel fine beside that Doc says i can walk and go back to lifting dumbbells.
Bud P., California, USA, March 19, 2008

• I had 2 stents put in in Oct 07. I participated in a cardiac rehab program and completed 30 sessions of the 36 prescribed with no problems exercising. I felt great. Suddenly before session 31 my heart rate was high at 120 after exercise warm up. I sat and it declined to 80, and proceeded to complete my exercises. My heart rate accelerated again on the tread mill and bike and I became winded and weak. I terminated the session. I am on toprol (25 milligrams). I called my cardiologist and she increased my toprol dosage to 50 milligrams and said no exercise for a week. Has anyone had similar sudden set back? What do you think is going on? 71 yr old male.
RJ, March 11, 2008

• Hi all. I need your advice. I am a 33 year old father of 2 young kids and a wife. I just had an Angiogram and they had to place a Stent "one" in one of my veins in the heart LAD. Can you please give me some advice on what you recommend I should do to improve my diet and what I should do and not do as far as food is concerned. I was very worried and was negative but can someone please advise when I can return to normal activity and so on please? I was lucky. Your advice will be appreciated. Thanking you.
Huss, Melbourne, Australia, March 10, 2008

Tom, I think you need an angiogram... I'm no doc but those are classic blockage symptoms. At least see another doctor.
Dan, March 7, 2008

An interesting article about a 64-year-old from California who, after 4 angioplasties, still felt tired, no energy, etc. His solution: lose weight, start becoming physicially active. He just completed his 7th "boot camp" session. We're not advocating this particular regimen, but just noting that it is possible, with a supervised program (preferably one connected to a heart program) to increase one's energy and well-being.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 1, 2008

• Hugh -- good for you. It's funny, but when rock stars like David Bowie and a number of government leaders, sports figures, etc. continue their strenuous activities after stenting, no one tells them to see a shrink.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 27, 2008

Thanks. The only problem is my cardiologist is not an exercise fan and thinks marathoners should see a psychiatrist! However the hospital where I had the angioplasty has a 6/7 week cardiac rehab programme by the end of which I hope to be back to somewhere near normal activity levels. Meanwhile I am listening to advice from various quarters to take it steadily.
Hugh, United Kingdom, February 26, 2008

• Dear Tom D, Talk to your cardiologist again. I am not a cardiologist but am 55 yrs old, I am a physician, and now have 4 stents (2 in 12/06 and two in 01/08) with (knock on wood)no heart damage yet. From my experience you need to be cath'ed again. Now. Each time I had the symptoms you describe (three times) it was a fresh blockage. The stress test, in my opinion, is a pretty worthless test; especially in an athletic, otherwise healthy person. (personal experience disclaimer of objectivity: my 75 yr old mother and I each had negative stresses 6 months before my mother's MI and CABG and my cath and stents.) I am sorry, but from my dilettante point of view, the least you could even consider to get by to diagnose the cause of your symptoms would be a 64 slice cardiac CTA.
PA Doc, Pennsylvania, USA, February 26, 2008

• I am 35 year old male and had a stent put in Nov 19, 2007. After the stent I felt great and start to slowly get back to exercising; walking mostly. But recently, I started to get tightness and achiness in my left arm again and went back to my doctor for a stress test. He said everything looks good and normal but I still feel this achiness. He thinks it is a pinch nerve and suggested a MRI so I will go it. But is anyone else out there experiencing or experienced the same thing? I find myself short of breath when climbing stairs or heavy walking again. Not sure what to think but any suggestion or comments are welcomed.
Tom D, Mission Viejo, California, USA, February 21, 2008

• Hugh from UK -- and this applies to many of the posters to this topic -- advice to all is post-heart procedure, discuss your exercise regimen with your cardiologist. Every person's capacity is different. As for rotablation, that is used when a lesion (blockage) is highly calcified, something a balloon or stent doesn't fix so well. The other question is whether a stent is necessary, or could POBA (Plain Old Balloon Angioplasty) work as well? Discuss these option with your cardiologist, making sure he understands your lifestyle.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 20, 2008

• I am a keen 30mpw runner who has completed 72 marathons - target is 100. I recently had an angiogram after suffering from breathlessness and am due to have angioplasty on one partly blocked artery shortly. Would the blockage have affected my performance before I became aware of the symptoms and, if so, should I be able to run faster after the procedure than before I became breathless? I have several questions: After the angioplasty is carried out, should the artery be almost as good as new? Is there any benefit in having rotablation rather than/as well as a stent? Does having a stent make running etc. more risky? Should I ease back into training gradually afterwards or carry on from my current 30mpw? Is it ok to resume gym activities [that don't currently cause breathlessness] afterwards, including lifting weights?
Hugh, United Kingdom, February 8, 2008

• Elliott -- since you're from Iowa, we'll guess that you can't wait to get into shape for RAGBRI, eh? As we advise everyone, discuss exercise regimen with your cardiologist -- who knows your clinical situation best.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 8, 2008

• 51 year old male who cycles regularly and has for 5 years, a runner before that but stopped due to knee pain. Just had 95% blockage corrected with a stent, now taking aspirin, Plavix, etc. What kind of physical activity can I expect to be able to perform, should I still plan on being able to complete 100 mile rides once I get back in shape? How soon should I start workouts, the stent was implanted 7 days ago?
Elliott, Des Moines, Iowa, USA, February 6, 2008

• Greetings! I am 65 years old. Last March (2007) I had Taxis stent inserted into the L distal anterior descending artery which had 80% blockage. I have 90% lesion of the high first obtuse marginal at its take-off and being the ostial lesion it was not an ideal lesion for intervention. In addition, I have R coronary with 60% posterior lateral artery branch stenosis. I also had pacemaker installed several days after the stent was inserted due to bradycardia. I take Plavix and aspirin plus Toprol (beta blocker) for mild hypertension. I had been physically out of shape and weighted 265lbs. With diet (95% veggie) and exercise I now weigh 193lbs and hope to get to mid-180s soon. Total cholesterol=140, Triglicerides=60, LDL=82, and HDL=46. My cardiologist would like the LDL to come down below 70 to "freeze" -- even possibly reverse -- arteriosclerosis at the 90% blockage area. My LDL has been declining and the HDL increasing. The beta-blocker has been reduced from 100mg to 50mg as my BP has declined. I started walking immediately after I got home. I had a few aches and pains but they soon went away. I went from slow barely walking to shuffle-jogging for 10 seconds to the point where today I do about 30 minutes of interval running. After warm up I run (1 minute) to reach my maximum heart-rate and then do 2 minute cool-down to recover and then do the next interval. This type of exercise creates oxygen debt and leaves one breathing heavily after each interval. I try to use this period to expand my lungs. Over time I have been able to increase the max heart-rate target level (130 to 145 in about a year) as I have become more conditioned. I generally do about 10 intervals. I take care do not overdo it. I have absolutely no discomfort. However, my concern is that although the cardiologist said it is okay for me to run I am concerned about that 90% blockage area. I am aware that each person has his/her own unique situation, etc. but I can't help but wonder if, in general, it is prudent to do interval training exercise with such blockages (even though I am taking Plavix and aspirin) and if others exercise with similar blockages.
John K., Texas, USA, February 3, 2008

• I am 49 years old and have been jogging for 26 years 3-4 miles a day 5 days per week. On Oct. 29 I passed out after my daily 3 mile jog and had noticed in the last 3 months that my breathing became more labored at the 1 mile mark. I went to my doctor and he had me do a Echo Stress test which indicated that I may have blockages. I then had an angiogram which showed a major narrowing in my right artery, 2 smaller blockages in my left and a branch of my circumflex 100% blocked. The doctor did not stent me at that time but said I might be a candidate for bypass surgery. My doctors decided that one of their expert cardiologists could treat me with stents. On December 13th I had 6 Cypher drug eluting stents placed which treated all of my blockages. I currently am on Plavix, Altace, Lipitor, Niaspan, & aspirin. My doctor set up a exercise schedule as follows: 3 weeks walking 20 minutes at 3 mph. 2 weeks 30 minutes at 3 mph. 2 weeks 30 min. at 3.5 mph. 2 weeks 30 min. at 4 mph. 2 weeks 30 min. at 4.5 mph and then increased time to 45 minutes at 4.5-5 mph (jogging at this point). I am pleased to say that I am doing extremely well at the 3.5 level without any pain or shortness of breath. I would also want to point out to the other runners out there, that my only risk factor was borderline high cholesterol (235 TC, 178 LDL, 34 HDL) I did notice over the last 10 years that my HDL had dropped from 48 to a low of 34. My cholesterol now after several weeks on the above medications is 122 TC, 68 LDL, 37 HDL. I am hoping that the Niaspan gets my HDL back up to the high forties Has anyone here have had 6 or more stents and have continued jogging?
David B., Louisiana, USA, January 21, 2008

• Terry from the UK -- chelation therapy has never been proven to have any benefit, although there's currently a trial sponsored by the US NIH -- results still a year or more out. Same with Co-Q10, although some think that might be more helpful in other ways. We don't know of any down-sides to these therapies, other than the expense and the cases where patients use them INSTEAD of working with their cardiologist.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 19, 2008

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