Powerlifting with a mechanical aortic valve

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    Powerlifting with a mechanical aortic valve


    Hello,

    I just underwent open-heart surgery after having congenital aortic stenosis; I went with a mechanical replacement valve. Well after surgery, the doctor told me that I would have to limit my weight lifting significantly. I can't find any answers from doctors, because they don't know anything about training and speak in absolutes (I was told lifting 50lbs for more reps would get me just as strong as 300 for a few, it would just take more time...)

    Any help is appreciated; I'm hoping someone here may have a similar experience or knowledge on the subject. Thanks

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    I take it there's a chance of death if you strain too hard?
    "Complacency is mediocrity"
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    Damn......

    I hope your recovery goes smoothly and you get your ticker stronger!
    Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. -Rippetoe
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    I really have no clue! I just wish you well and hope you stay healthy!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by thaOrleanyte View Post
    Damn......

    I hope your recovery goes smoothly and you get your ticker stronger!
    Quote Originally Posted by crader View Post
    I really have no clue! I just wish you well and hope you stay healthy!!
    Thanks for the well wishes guys. I just have trouble figuring out what is documented and what is speculation - because lets face it: 99% of doctors don't know much about lifting in and of itself, let alone powerlifting. I think that they're just erroring on the side of caution. Heavy weights are scary and they think it'll hurt me if I have to strain...it might. I don't know what is true and what is speculation, but I can't not lift. I guess I'll just have to roll the dice and take a gamble
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    Id give yourself at least a year before any weights...make sure everything heals up properly. then maybe stick to upper body only for a while... be a bench press specialist or something... BP has much less stress on the heart, than Squat or DL.
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    You had open heart surgery at 22 years old. I'd say **** absolutes and go by what the doctors feel is safe for you. They may not know powerlifting but they know hearts and you still have a long time to make use of yours... As long as you don't go and blow it up. Good luck and stay healthy but if you have to give up power lifting in favor of a longer lifespan, sobeit.
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    Aren't cyborgs suppose to be near-indestructible?
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    maybe the doctor doesnt know powerlifting as a sport. But he obviously knows lifting heavy stuff whether it is a box or a weight is not a good thing for your heart that has just been operated on.
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    Whoa replacement valve at 22? That's some crazy shiit!

    Any updates?

    I'd guess that powerlifting would be completely out as the Valsavla Maneuver (breathe holding) is usually discouraged with typical cardiac precautions. I am not an authority in that particular field so that's just my own opinion and not advice.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd look for research on outcomes for your specific valve.
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    no clue. props for still slugging away
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    Jayhawks answer is good.

    Just give it time..a year or whatever I know how hard it is not to lift. man do cardio if thats the least you can do..do a lot of calves that doesnt effect hart well.do what you can and educate yourself more on your problem area..the more you know the more you can do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by celc5 View Post
    the Valsavla Maneuver (breathe holding) is usually discouraged with typical cardiac precautions.
    The valsalva is a bit different than breath holding. Think of really tensing your stomach as if to absorb a punch to teh stomach. The way we're taught is actually to tell the patient to "bear down" as if you are sitting on the throne struggling to take a dump...I prefer the "tense the stomach" bit. You can also tell the patient to take a deep breath and try to exhale the air as hard as you can but without opening your mouth or nose (ie, exhale but don't let the air out). You should feel a buildup of pressure in your thorax and body.


    Viper, personally I would lay off the weights for quite some time until the surgery heals. I know on valvereplacement.com people said many conservative responses to your question (eh, I googled weight lifting and valve replacements and your thread on that site came up) and personally, I'd follow them for awhile. I also don't know what the limits are of mechanical valves versus porcine or bovine replacements.

    Did you have a sternotomy? It takes awhile to heal. Lay off of everything for awhile, you only got one heart my man. Get back into it with cardio or other aerobic exercise for awhile to strengthen the heart. Then push the weights IMHO, but light for awhile and work your way up slowly. Thats the way I would do it, but I ain't no doctor.

    I have a surgeon friend in RI who does valve replacements minimally-invasive (hes consistently rated as one of if not the top heart surgeon in RI). Hes the only one in the northeast (yes, not even in Boston) who does it this way, he learned from a guy in Florida. He goes into the 3rd and 5th intercostal spaces on either side, depending on which valve he needs to replace, and uses the normal sternum-spreader to spread the ribs apart instead (vertically) with 2 3" incisions. He doesn't crack the sternum, so the recovery is much quicker and easier. Just as efficacious as the old-school open-heart way of doing it. Unfortunately its so new that it takes awhile for a procedure to pick up steam, especially if insurance companies classify it as "experimental" and refuse to pay for it.

    Best of luck with everything my friend.
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    If you had a mechanical valve you are probably taking coumadin, right?
    Just for that you should not only not do any power lifting, you should not do any contact sports or place your self in a position of having either a small (or large) chance of getting simple contussions or bruises, mainly because you wont stop bleeding spontaneously and get bah hematomas from them.
    With weight trainig there is always micro trauma (sometimes macro trauma) to the muscles and tendons, which are the main reason why the increase in size, just in order to heal the muscle. You dont want to bleed out there either.
    Plus just think of how many different tissues the surgeons went through and disrupted just to get to the valve. Any strain on them could also make you bleed.
    Take it easy for a while, and then, if you want to restart with weights, be very careful, and do it under as much supervision as possible in a very monitored setting.
    Now a days many young people get heart valve surgery and do very well, is just a matter of you understanding that this is very serious situation, and carring a mechanical valve in you is a life long commitment.
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    Enigma,
    I was under the impression that forced exhalation put a "backward" pressure on the heart valves, just the same as breathe holding. Could you clear that up for me? Thanks, good post!
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    Quote Originally Posted by celc5 View Post
    Enigma,
    I was under the impression that forced exhalation put a "backward" pressure on the heart valves, just the same as breathe holding. Could you clear that up for me? Thanks, good post!
    Its forced exhalation w/o actually exhaling. So you are both forcibly exhaling and also holding the breath.

    I assume that the true valsalva increases intrathoracic pressure moreso than forced exhalation or breath holding.

    The pressure builds in the intrathoracic cavity, with a resultant temporary increase in blood pressure in the left atrium. That why sometimes patients with SVTs can terminate them with a valsalva maneuver, the increased pressure results in a reduction in heart rate.

    The real value of the valsalva is distinguishing between normal and pathology. There are four distinct pressure changes that occur after a valsalva in the normal person (you can find these on wikipedia), and in pathology they don't necessarily occur, or are more pronounced, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enigma76 View Post
    That why sometimes patients with SVTs can terminate them with a valsalva maneuver, the increased pressure results in a reduction in heart rate.
    U either just got outta PA school or are in med school right now. Cause those are the people that post cool little tidbits like that. Badasss posts brotha
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    Quote Originally Posted by celc5 View Post
    U either just got outta PA school or are in med school right now. Cause those are the people that post cool little tidbits like that. Badasss posts brotha
    Haha thanks man, halfway through med school.

    As I've commented to other people on this board, I used to post alot and contribute with limited knowledge. I hope to be able to continue contributing with my new skillset, as I think it has some value around here.
  

  
 

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