Four and a half weeks after SAVR

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Om Gnome

Hortus ergo sum
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I am in my fifth week of recovery after having my bicuspid aortic valve replaced with a bovine valve. In the weeks before surgery my ejection fraction was 27% so I have felt better from Day One after surgery. The most uncomfortable part of early recovery was the nasty bedsores I got after 8 days in the hospital.

Wondering how long I should wait before I ride my bicycle? Currently I am still not driving but will be soon. Being home-bound is getting old.

I am up to two 19 minute walks per day. The schedule is working me up to one 30 minute walk by Week Ten. I feel like I could do that now but I am trying not to push too hard because my heart function was greatly reduced due to such a bad EF.
 

pellicle

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Hi and welcome aboard

Wondering how long I should wait before I ride my bicycle?
guidance (and to be honest prudence) would suggest 8 weeks. The sternum is a very thin and flexible bone. Trust me, you do not want to have an injury during healing leading to consequences that I'm sure you haven't yet entertained.

Stationary bike should be ok, as long as there is no pressure on the handle bars.

remember the golden rule: small steps forward every day, no slips backwards.

Best wishes
 

AZATADINE

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Yeah, I met my surgeon after 6 weeks, last December. He advised me strongly not to cycle for 12 weeks. He mentioned the vibrations coming through the handlebars. I took his advice anyway, even though I was going stir crazy walking. Hopped back on the bike after 3 months.
 

Brokenhip

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Pretty much identical to Azatadine, surgeon advised not to cycle for 12 weeks, but at the 6 week consultation he reduced that to 10 weeks. His main concern was a fall and consequent damage to the healing sternum. I was using the exercise bike from week 6. My walking schedule had me on 3 x 20 min walks per day by week 8, then 1 x 60 min each day from then on. For info I was 67 yrs old.
 

d333gs

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Yup,"Stationary bike should be ok,..." And walk hard until the 12th week. I am in week 20 and I am still getting surprises in terms of exercise performance improvements over pre op , even years before pre op
 

Om Gnome

Hortus ergo sum
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Pretty much identical to Azatadine, surgeon advised not to cycle for 12 weeks, but at the 6 week consultation he reduced that to 10 weeks. His main concern was a fall and consequent damage to the healing sternum. I was using the exercise bike from week 6. My walking schedule had me on 3 x 20 min walks per day by week 8, then 1 x 60 min each day from then on. For info I was 67 yrs old.
That's more walking than they have me doing...but I usually go a little long. I start cardiac rehab soon and I think there will be exercise involved.
 

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Om Gnome

Hortus ergo sum
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Pacific Northwest
Yup,"Stationary bike should be ok,..." And walk hard until the 12th week. I am in week 20 and I am still getting surprises in terms of exercise performance improvements over pre op , even years before pre op
Yeah, the week before my surgery I couldn't even walk to the kitchen sink without taking a break. It's been better from Day One. I'm hoping to adopt a lifestyle that is better than the one I had and treat this valve better than I did the original.
 

skier

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Dec 18, 2021
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My first outdoor bike ride was three and a half months after my first surgery. Looking at my training log, I didn't ride again until two weeks later. I remember my sternum still hurting the first ride. After four months, it felt better, and I was riding quite a bit. I was running at two months.

Outdoor cycling takes much longer because of the weight on the sternum, while indoors is fine as you don't feel the bumps and won't crash.
 

skier

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Dec 18, 2021
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How are you doing now Skier?
Fantastic! Thanks for asking. I gave an update over here:
 

Brokenhip

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That's more walking than they have me doing...but I usually go a little long. I start cardiac rehab soon and I think there will be exercise involved.
If you include the 10 mins total warm up/warm down so not a lot different. Just important to complete the regime. Expect you will enjoy rehab, I started at week 6 & it was individually designed with light weights, treadmill, stationary bike, steps & some stretches. We also had some lifestyle type lectures, but mainly for those who had stents, I was the only valve recipient. I am sure you will do well. Good luck.
 

d333gs

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Interesting differences in rehab timing, we started day 6 with daily1/2h stationary bike and breathing exercises, week 2 group walking outside and various movement exercises.
 

Chuck C

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Dec 5, 2020
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That's more walking than they have me doing.

It is possible that they are having you ease into the exercise more slowly due to the fact that you were at 27% EF before surgery, which is suggestive of heart failure levels. I would not be surprised if this changes recovery a bit. The guidelines which I was given called for more walking than yours. In fact, I was told to walk as much as I wanted as long as I felt comfortable.

As to the biking question, I think that the feedback that you've received about waiting 8-12 weeks is good. Stationary bike is very different, as you can control the output to be about the same as walking if you like. I was on the stationary bike some at about day 9 or 10 if I recall.

I'm glad to hear that you felt better immediately after surgery. Hopefully you are able to take good care of your prosthetic valve, as you indicate is your plan and that you fully recover your heart function with a normalized EF.

Please keep us posted on your recovery.
 

Brokenhip

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Interesting differences in rehab timing, we started day 6 with daily1/2h stationary bike and breathing exercises, week 2 group walking outside and various movement exercises.
Started rehab at 6 weeks due to that being the first available open spot at the hospital I chose close to home, not where I had the AVR. Would have started earlier had there been an opening.
 

Om Gnome

Hortus ergo sum
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Started rehab at 6 weeks due to that being the first available open spot at the hospital I chose close to home, not where I had the AVR. Would have started earlier had there been an opening.
Same. My rehab will be at the hospital close to home, not where I had my AVR (45 miles away). Unfortunately the first opening is not until July 29th which is around Week Ten for me. Wish I could start sooner.
 
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