Training With a Heart Valve

author : AMSSM
comments : 1
Member Question

It's been seven months since my spare part list got longer with a new prolapsed mitral heart valve.

I have been with a bio for three months now and I think I might be ready to start training properly again at the end of the month after my next evaluation.  Now...the question...how does this affect your times and training? Anything I should be concerned about?  Not that I have any expectations of major league glory. I just want to compete and complete for the fun and enjoyment of it. 

GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED!

Our experts will answer your:

  • Injury questions
  • Bike questions
  • Equipment questions
  • Training questions

If you are a Bronze, Silver or Gold member, ENTER HERE to post your question.

Become a Performance Member Today!

Answer from William Haug, Jr., MD, CAQSM, CSCS
Member AMSSM

In terms of returning to training from cardiovascular surgery, there are several things to ponder when thinking about your training program. When in doubt about any advice, please contact your cardiologist or cardiothoracic surgeon regarding any plans to return to training.

At the three month mark, the main issue will be any lingering sternal pain. The valve itself should be in good working condition.  It will be very important that you take it easy upon your return. Work with your physician to devise a training program that will give you a gradual return to exercise.  I would not recommend any contact to the sternum at three months, but biking, swimming and running should be safe, especially if you choose to ride on a stationery trainer initially for the bike. This would reduce your chance of a fall from the bike on a bike trail or in traffic.  In my discussions with various cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, a return after the three month mark will not necessarily be limited by the valve, but more so on your overall fitness level at that time.

Be very mindful of your dietary plan as well to help prevent issues from coronary atherosclerotic disease. Registered dieticians will prove valuable in a plan that will help you prevent disease in your coronary arteries and valves in the future.

It is difficult to give advice regarding a global training program without knowing the rest of your health status such as your lung function, coronary artery status and your overall fitness level. As a triathlete, I assume you have a reasonably good fitness level, but I would certainly urge you to err on the side of caution and check with your physician before undertaking your fitness program.

Upon returning to exercise, be watchful for symptoms such as shortness of breath, pain, or swelling in your extremities. Most centers that perform these operations have a cardiac rehabilitation program, and they can help direct you towards your exercise goals as well.

In summary, returning to triathlon from valve surgery can be done safely and effectively if you follow a plan that is reasonable in terms gradual return to exercise. Not going too hard, too fast, will be very important to see how your body responds. If you are experiencing any symptoms, then stop and check with your physician before proceeding any further.

William Haug, Jr., MD, CAQSM, CSCS
Primary Care Sports Medicine
Altru Health System
1300 S. Columbia Rd.
Grand Forks, ND  58201
(701) 780-2300 appointment

Rating

Click on star to vote
2624 Total Views  |  127 Views last 30 days  |  32 Views last 7 days
date: March 17, 2014

AMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

avatarAMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

View all 357 articles