Heart Guy
Running After Stent Placement 3/29/2013 7:43PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Please share your experiences with running after getting a stent placed for a blocked artery. Particularly how old were you, how old are you now, did you get faster after the stent, are you on drugs (thiners) the rest of your life and how was your blocked artery discovered.

Here is my case. Early 50s been running for 30 years, no family history, low stress, don’t smoke or drink, no diabetes, low blood pressure, low body fat the only warning marker was high total cholesterol of 230. Triglycerides were very low, good cholesterol high (HDL 65). I did notice that I felt like crap on most runs, sort of like tough to breath and consequently was very slow. I just assumed it was old age and I had “lost it”. Then I got a bout of PVCs out of nowhere that lasted a month then stopped, so stress test was ordered and I had abnormalities. So they did nuclear stress test. I get the results Wednesday but I am positive they are going to say I have a blockage and need catheter and likely balloon angioplasty/stent placement. Sucks, but that is where I am likely headed. So please share your experiences.
KudzuRunner
RE: Running After Stent Placement 3/29/2013 8:32PM - in reply to Heart Guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I had a coronary spasm in 2000, had an angiogram. They found one tertiary coronary artery was 40% blocked. I had minor angioplasty, no stent, just ballooning. I was running two weeks later. I started serious training three years later and have run more than a hundred races since then. In age-graded terms, my times now--well, as recently as early 2010--are better than my times in my mid-20s. My blood pressure is 125/80 and my cholesterol is fine. I won the Alabama state 10-mile championship in the over-50 category several years ago.

After all those years of great health, I had a burst of PVCs starting on January 1 that lasted about a month. I wore a holter monitor and checked out fine. I cut my caffeine down to a cup of coffee in the morning and a cup of green tea with lunch. I stopped drinking. I started sleeping much better with the help of Melatonin. The whole thing was brought on by a sustained lack of enough sleep, and stress. (Some people, as you know, compensate for lack of sleep and too much stress by martinis at night and too much coffee during the day.)

I'm training really well now and I run a 5K tomorrow morning.

I'm taking a thallium stress test in May, but I'd be amazed if they found anything wrong. All I was suffering from was insomnia--a sustained lack of adequate sleep. Booze and caffeine both mess with your sleep.

So that's my first question: Have you been getting enough sleep?

Second question--or point, more precisely: You're jumping the gun. Before you decide that you're totally f---ed, let the heart doc do what he does.

And if you're drinking and caffeining it up, stop. It's the best move I've ever made. Go back to ground and get some good sleep.
KudzuRunner
RE: Running After Stent Placement 3/29/2013 8:35PM - in reply to KudzuRunner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Actually, you do say that you don't drink. That's good! What about the sleep thing? That's the first thing I'd look at when you talk about PVCs.
Heart Guy
RE: Running After Stent Placement 3/30/2013 7:22AM - in reply to KudzuRunner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
As far as the PVCs go, as you know in 95% of cases they are benign and some simple life modifications can alleviate them as you found out. If you look at the list for PVC casuses, smoking - no, drinking - no, Caffeine - zero, stress -no, sleep - get 9 hours a night!, potassium - tested fine, magnesium - test fine. So I don't meet any of the "benign PVC" causes which again points to me being screwed, i.e. mine were probably caused by a blockage which the regular stress test confirmed and Wed I will probably find the nuclear stress test confirmed.
lease
RE: Running After Stent Placement 3/30/2013 7:22AM - in reply to Heart Guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I agree with a poster above: don't borrow trouble! Find out what your doc actually does/recommends, before getting too concerned.

I can't run (and couldn't--for forty years--before my "incident"), so not sure how much my experience would help you. Except, perhaps, in this regard: in the ten weeks following my NSTEMI and subsequent angioplasty/stent, I've had two disturbing setbacks. Both, in turns out, were almost certainly effects of the drugs I was taking; the ticker itself is fine.

Lessons learned:

1)Drugs (and dosages) that initially are helpful, even lifesaving, can be too much later on. Giving feedback to your doc(s) is important.

2) If you're not feeling so hot, some weeks post-procedure, you should be aware and concerned, but not necessarily about your heart itself.

3) Don't necessarily expect a continuous smooth recovery curve. You may get that--lots do--but you may also get some "two steps forward, one step back" experiences.

4) Don't be a "runner" about your recovery, automatically trying to push through discomfort. Again, communicate with your doc(s), rather than trying to tough it out.

5) If you're put on blood thinners (I was--for at least a year, they're saying, and maybe the rest of my life unless I'm facing more surgery), even minor dings can leave spectacular bruises. Get used to the idea of looking like a victim of domestic abuse!
Heart Guy
RE: Running After Stent Placement 3/30/2013 7:24AM - in reply to Heart Guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
That is encouraging that you were able to run so well. I suspect my blockage will be greater than your 40% but like you say I got to wait for the actual results and I will keep you posted.
Heart Guy
RE: Running After Stent Placement 3/31/2013 12:52PM - in reply to lease Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

lease wrote:

I agree with a poster above: don't borrow trouble! Find out what your doc actually does/recommends, before getting too concerned.

I can't run (and couldn't--for forty years--before my "incident"), so not sure how much my experience would help you. Except, perhaps, in this regard: in the ten weeks following my NSTEMI and subsequent angioplasty/stent, I've had two disturbing setbacks. Both, in turns out, were almost certainly effects of the drugs I was taking; the ticker itself is fine.

Lessons learned:

1)Drugs (and dosages) that initially are helpful, even lifesaving, can be too much later on. Giving feedback to your doc(s) is important.

2) If you're not feeling so hot, some weeks post-procedure, you should be aware and concerned, but not necessarily about your heart itself.

3) Don't necessarily expect a continuous smooth recovery curve. You may get that--lots do--but you may also get some "two steps forward, one step back" experiences.

4) Don't be a "runner" about your recovery, automatically trying to push through discomfort. Again, communicate with your doc(s), rather than trying to tough it out.

5) If you're put on blood thinners (I was--for at least a year, they're saying, and maybe the rest of my life unless I'm facing more surgery), even minor dings can leave spectacular bruises. Get used to the idea of looking like a victim of domestic abuse!


Very good advice and I will heed it. A couple of questions for you, why can't you run post stent and how do you get off the dam drug thiners post stent?
lease
RE: Running After Stent Placement 3/31/2013 3:43PM - in reply to Heart Guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Heart Guy wrote:

Very good advice and I will heed it. A couple of questions for you, why can't you run post stent and how do you get off the dam drug thiners post stent?

1) I injured a foot as a senior in college--starting my coaching career a couple months later, to combat the enforced idleness.
The injury turned out to be permanent: 40+ years later, I can't run across the street. That doesn't bother me as much as it used to, as there are now several days each year when I don't miss running at all.
So the stent had no effect at all on my being able to run.

2) The most recent checkup with my cardiologist was last week and he's looking at a minimum of another ten months on thinners, with the good prospect of my using them for the rest of my life. (He's already advised me to take care of my teeth, because I have to avoid any dental surgery.) As I'm no longer a competitive runner or racewalker, I don't have any particular argument I can bring re getting off the thinners. (If I develop side effects from them, I suppose the situation could change.)
It's always good to get multiple opinions if your doc doesn't seem to respond to the specifics of your personal situation--one of the reasons I'm having trouble with the meds is that I was prescribed the same dosages that an obese individual with sky-high BP and cholesterol levels would have received--but you need to know that pretty good post-op research has been done, following health/mortality outcomes up to a year afterward, and the thinners come out looking like a champ.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but don't screw around with this stuff. If the docs say thinners for a year, certainly ask them what that's based on--but don't be one of these guys who thinks he knows better than the experts.
Ditto--and I hate to say it--if they tell you no running for X weeks/months/whatever.
Heart Guy
RE: Running After Stent Placement 4/3/2013 12:10PM - in reply to Heart Guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I got the results of the Nuclear Stress test and I have zero blockage. The regular stress stest was a false positive and that test typically has false positives as high as 30%. So I got worked up for nothing. Thanks for your resonses anyway.
xlev2
RE: Running After Stent Placement 4/3/2013 4:27PM - in reply to Heart Guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Heart Guy wrote:

I got the results of the Nuclear Stress test and I have zero blockage. The regular stress stest was a false positive and that test typically has false positives as high as 30%. So I got worked up for nothing. Thanks for your resonses anyway.


That's great news!! Did your cardiologist offer any insight into the decline in your running performance?
Heart Guy
RE: Running After Stent Placement 4/4/2013 9:43AM - in reply to xlev2 Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

xlev2 wrote:


Heart Guy wrote:

I got the results of the Nuclear Stress test and I have zero blockage. The regular stress stest was a false positive and that test typically has false positives as high as 30%. So I got worked up for nothing. Thanks for your resonses anyway.


That's great news!! Did your cardiologist offer any insight into the decline in your running performance?


He did not. From his viewpoint I am in excellent shape, but in the running world I am in terrible shape. I have no excuses now and looking at my log I need to run a lot more consistently and basically get back in running shape.
lease
RE: Running After Stent Placement 4/4/2013 1:48PM - in reply to Heart Guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
OP, I'm delighted that you can avoid the procedures that you thought might be needed! If you can stand a suggestion that's a little off the wall:

Find online the old RCAF 5BX and XBX conditioning programs. (Ignore the fact that the former is labeled "for men" and the latter "for women"--you need the mix.) Start at the zero point in those programs and build up, alternating between 5BX and XBX and doing at least two of each--preferably three of each--per week. Follow the program, including the exercises at the end of each session that incorporate some running (running on the spot is fine, and maybe preferable). The whole routine should take you twelve minutes or less.

Now that you're over 50, you may get a lot more bang for the exercise buck if you put part of your energy into these whole-body exercises. (Of course you'll be doing regular running sessions too, I'm sure.) If you follow the program for two months--even though the initial stages of each routine may seem absurdly easy--I think you'll see great progress in your running.

Anyway, good luck in the future. Please bump this thread occasionally to let us know how you're doing.
Heart Guy
RE: Running After Stent Placement 4/8/2013 10:10AM - in reply to lease Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Yes I am already doing weights and am quite strong and lean for a guy in his 50s. Still struggling witht he running but plugging away and have increased my mileage. I will keep posted on progress.