I have searched all over the internet looking for information on how to train after a Type A aortic dissection repair with a graft, aortic aneurysm and aortic valve replacement with mechanical one while taking blood thinners, beta blockers, etc. How do you determine what is safe in terms of heart rate and blood pressure that won't stress the teflon graft or the valve? When can you resume training? Can you ever run a marathon again? I am looking for the answers to those questions as the mother of a young man who is 27 and was running a marathon when he felt a sharp pain in his chest. He stopped running, and four days later was in emergency open heart surgery. There seems to be no info from his very fine doctors in a nationally reknowned hospital on where to go for information or training beyond the initial cardiopulmonary physical therapy. I'm hoping some runners out there have some ideas. Thanks.
I'm so happy to hear that your son was so fortunate to pull through a dissection. At the moment I'm revcovering from a valve sparing David-procedure, almost two weeks now. Other community there in US I've heard about is ironheartracing.com where you might find people to help you with your questions.
Unfotunately the doctors tend to play it safe and give answers like "why woulde you wanna risk it, when you now have been given a second chance. Just take it easy but excersise light by walking etc... to keep yourself in shape" when instead they should say "Ok, I see this is important fo. I do not have all the answers now but let's start looking"......
I'm very optimistic you will find people who've run marathons after same type of operatin your son had. I will certainly myself start running very soon and looking for the answers (which type of stress tests, can I run intervals, can I run with max heart rate ever again etc....). My surgeons have given me a green light even to run ultras if everything goes without set backs. Cardiologists have been more careful and have not said much. Obviously because this is so rare among young people doing sports.
Thank you so much for your very thoughtful response. Unfortunately my son's valved was too calcified to save. You sound a lot like him in his resolve to run again. He's already doing about 6-8 miles a day light running, and still in cardiopulmonary physical therapy so i hope he is learning how to run with his new heart valve. I did invest in a heart monitor for him to keep an eye on his HR so he doesn't put too much stress on his graft and stays within his limits. And yes, it is so rare that they have to deal with young people that they don't quite know how to handle. My hope is that more cardiologists figure out how to advise young, fit people who suddenly find out they have a serious heart condition. I wish you all the best.
Wow, your son is already running! That's amazing, congrats! My "training" 3 weeks after operation is just 1 hour walk/4 km/2,5 miles walking! I'm doing ok, except my back still hurts and my heart rate is much higher than normal (resting hr 80 compared to 42 before the operation)
When was your son's operation? Did the cardiologists give hr limits to excercise within?
I'm just starting to look for answers after having returned home to Finland from Belgium where I had the surgery. I now have a post operation control in couple of weeks and then a stress test which should give some advice what I can do at first. I will also have an appointment with a doctor who specialises in excercising and hope that she and the cardiologist together can work out a rehab program for me. We'll see how it goes. I'm a little skeptic but hopefully they prove me wrong and I will be able to start training soon.
I hope to run a marathon next fall (or at least half), just run through it with no goals on finishing time.
I hope that your son is doing fine with no set backs in training. :)