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Old 03-31-2014, 11:36 AM   #1
John Matthew Ware
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Coming back from a double valve replacement

Anybody have any advice/experience with returning to an active lifestyle after significant heart surgery? I'm following the walking routine that I was given at the hospital, but I'm anxious to get back to being an athlete...I'm not looking to jump back into high-intensity stuff off of the bat, probably just easy running to get up to 5K distance to start...Any feedback would be appreciated...Thanks.
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:32 PM   #2
Will Seavey
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Re: Coming back from a double valve replacement

I don't work with patients like you in the long term, but short term you have to make sure you are 100% healed. Follow the sternal precautions, you don't want that to get damaged.
I would just be very up front with your surgeon about what activity level you want to have and certain short term and long term goals. Ask them anything you want, they have herd it al... They should be able to give you an approximate timeline (as long as you don't have any major set backs). Long term (> "several" months depending on what happens) you should be able to do just about anything.

Credentials: cardiac pharmacist with a wife RN who works with your type of case specifically post-op, we just sat down and chatted for a few minutes...

Take your time, you have a lifetime to get back to your previous fitness level...
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Old 04-06-2014, 06:40 PM   #3
Sean Rockett
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Re: Coming back from a double valve replacement

Agree you surgeon will or should guide you. Ask for physical therapist that they like to work with to help you transition under supervised guidance.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:12 PM   #4
John Matthew Ware
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Re: Coming back from a double valve replacement

Thanks for the feedback...My surgeon recommended cardiac rehab and a stress test to start.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:57 AM   #5
Richard Colon
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Re: Coming back from a double valve replacement

I'll pass the word on to those much better qualified and see what sort of thoughts/opinions they have. Obviously, defer to your surgeon and their circle of specialists (those that are responsible for ensuring your well being) but getting an opinion from those that understand what you do, and why you want to do it combined with the medical end of things...well it just might help. I'll be in touch.

I know the Crossfit game well. I train it, use it, my clients know it, my wife knows it, etc. I have 2 doctor clients - one is Chief of Cardiac Care, the other is a double specialized Cardiologist. A close friend is a Cardiologist and my wife is a Heart Transplant Coordinator NP with over a decade of heart specialty pre and post-op care. They all know what it feels like to AMRAP..

In the meantime, the heart is priority not the workout, so be smart and take it easy.
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Old 04-11-2014, 05:16 AM   #6
John Matthew Ware
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Re: Coming back from a double valve replacement

Thank you, Richard...I appreciate it greatly.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:30 AM   #7
Richard Colon
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Re: Coming back from a double valve replacement

the general consensus is as follows:

Take it easy and listen to what the folks involved with your rehab have to say. The stress test may highlight and give information about where your threshold is, but if it doesn't stress you enough to be relevant to the level at which you intend to exercise, then discuss that with them.

Be up front with what you are intending to do. Whether you are trying to maintain a certain level of athleticism and fitness or strive to get back to "where you were" as soon as possible, communicate that with your recovery specialists/docs/etc.

Obviously, take it easy. Back off sooner than you think and feel things out. The stress test, if pushed to enough intensity is a good to way to get a feel for what the heart and your body is doing, how everything is responding and most importantly - all while being monitored. Better to push it and see how your body responds during that test than during your own workout at a gym, without monitoring (in this case, things could "feel fine" but a different story may be told on the inside.) Don't push this. There are serious repercussions.

The point is, from what my wife was saying especially, make sure the stress test reflects a bit of what you are trying to do. They could put you through the paces and say "here is your stress, don't do this, back off here, etc." but if it is not at the intensity or involving the same stimulus as what you are trying to do via training, then it won't help you much. 2 things will happen in this case. You will either feel limited and frustrated or you will ignore them a bit and do your own thing anyway.

Also, get the recovery advice, rehab and stress test by those that understand your fitness and its priority. A very large percentage of medical folk are extremely unhealthy and out of shape (as per my wife and the tons of docs, medical staff she works with) and would never understand why you want to push after a hearty surgery anyway. As my wife said - that is why they call it medical PRACTICE. They aren't always right. Get 2nd opinions, etc. However, that being said, these medical experts are just giving their educated guesses and it is more educated than your guess. If multiple people give you the same advice with more "credentials" than you, just listen.
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:05 PM   #8
John Matthew Ware
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Re: Coming back from a double valve replacement

Thanks again, Richard...I greatly appreciate this...As it stands now, my goal is to get my 5K time close to what it was before my surgery...Running, yoga and body weight/light dumbbell metcons are my eventual goal, and I surely won't be pushing very hard to start...That being said, light short jogging interspersed with walking is my immediate goal...I have no aspirations of super strength and Olympic speed...Hopefully, I'll be starting rehab in the coming week to get a gauge of what I'm capable of.
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