Weight lifting with valve and aneurysm replacement

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Froller2

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So Feb of last year i had my valve and aneurysm replaced, in summer i started lifting weights and been slowly moving up the kilos i lift, but i wanted to know, how heavy can i lift, with what i had done in my chest, and should i be lifting? Currently I'm at 15-18kg for curls and 70kg for benchpress, 80kg for deadlift and 100 in squat.
I want to start getting into s big period of bulking where i can make slot og progress in size and hoe heavy i go with the weights but i really need to be sure i don't do more Damage than good.
 

elMIguel

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Of course I can’t answer your specific question regarding how heavy you can lift as you’ll want to consult your physician. I can, however, share my experience. I had my aortic valve replaced in March 2021. After my initial recovery, I had similar questions and concerns about weight training and was willing to give it up completely if it put me at risk. Thankfully, my surgeon and cardiologist gave me full clearance and no restrictions. Even though I was weight training regularly prior to my diagnosis, I began very slowly with the empty bar adding 5 lbs. each session. Now I’m back where I want to be regarding the weight I lift. I’m not lifting as heavy as I was before my surgery (currently bench 100kg, deadlift 150kg, overhead press 65kg, and squat 105 kg) simply because I’m concentrating on indoor rowing.
Best of luck to you.
 

pellicle

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So Feb of last year i had my valve and aneurysm replaced, in summer ...
I'm going to be cheeky and say Feb is still summer ...

well I'm going to suggest (as probably will your doctor, cardiologist and surgeon) that bulking is no good if you're dead on the floor having bled out into your chest cavity (at worst, or perhaps more likely just giving yourself a paravalvular leak). However, if all things are equal and the scans are coming up good (you're having them right?) then at nearly a year afte wards I'd say that unless someone has looked at a scan and said "don't do this" that you are pretty much good to go but (as always) perhaps give up on the Valsalva maneuver.

Myself (for various reasons) have given up on "that sort of training" and instead go for stuff that keeps my fitness, strength and capacity. I don't train to "appear" something I train to be able to do things (other than lifting weights) like cycling, XC skiing, and outdoors whatnot.

Consult your team and ask them that ... or just start doing things and on next consultation if "nothing is found" then keep doing that ... you should be having yearly examinations for the first few years after surgery ... right?
 

Chuck C

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Welcome to the forum Froller2!

You'll want to get clearance from your cardiologist before lifting too heavy. I had my aortic valve, aortic root and ascending aorta replaced a year ago. At my 4 month post surgery check up I was given full clearance to lift as much as I wanted. In that you are 13 months out I don't expect that your cardiologist will give you any restrictions, but just be sure to check with him first.
 

tom in MO

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I was told in cardiac rehab to avoid any exercise where you hold your breath and do something strenuous. This can cause your blood pressure to spike.
 

DDT77

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on metropolol, post ascending aortic prostheses and avr. Surgeon and team have advised against even pushups, due to enhanced bp, and resultant stress on interface <stitches> between prosthesis and native aorta. My understanding is prothetic valve and prothetic valve have sufficient fatigue life, but the attachment techniques still need refinement,
 

pellicle

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on metropolol, post ascending aortic prostheses and avr. Surgeon and team have advised against even pushups, due to enhanced bp...
I'm guessing your less than 3 months post op

Myself I don't like push ups much these days as they seem to irritate my elbows, so instead (and as I've done for well over thirty years) I prefer bench press. I don't like machines


Soon after my clearance from surgery restrictions (8weeks) I began doing slow rep work with light weights. Just the bar at first but within a few days had just a few kg more on each bar (a few means 2kg on each end) I then over coming weeks built back up to 15kg each end.

of course I also did my usual routine of lat pull downs, seated rows, side raises, front raises and seated shoulder press (all again from emphasis with reduced weight and increasing over time as I felt comfortable with it.

you are actually meant to get back to normal

Best Wishes
 
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Chuck C

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on metropolol, post ascending aortic prostheses and avr. Surgeon and team have advised against even pushups, due to enhanced bp, and resultant stress on interface <stitches> between prosthesis and native aorta. My understanding is prothetic valve and prothetic valve have sufficient fatigue life, but the attachment techniques still need refinement,
It would be interesting to know how recent your surgery was. Your guidance to not even do a push up would be standard for several weeks following surgery. However, if this is the long term instructions from your medical team, this is the most restrictive guidance I've heard of.

There is often significant variance in the guidelines given, at least in some areas, so it would be interesting to know more details if you can share. Is there something unique about your situation, such as a large aneurism, which would make your team so cautious?
 

DDT77

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Was more than 4 years ago. Dialation went into arch, but was corrected during the opening. Onyx with ascending prosthesis, connecting with seperate prosthetic into arch.
 

pellicle

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Was more than 4 years ago. Dialation went into arch, but was corrected during the opening. Onyx with ascending prosthesis, connecting with seperate prosthetic into arch.
Get a second opinion (unless there is a ton of stuff you aren't sharing about your condition; such as how frail your chest bones are, some other highly difficult or unusual comorbidities...) My own aortic arch was problematic and as far around the arch as the surgeon dared and was a watch point for the first few years.

Even then nobody for anything except encourage me to continue the exercise I was doing (surgeon and cardiologist)
 

pellicle

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My understanding is prothetic valve and prothetic valve have sufficient fatigue life, but the attachment techniques still need refinement,
I'd seek clarify here as this sounds like gobbledygook to me...

However ultimately the question itself is predicated on "do you want to exercise" ... if you don't then there is no problem (aside from the transferability of your experience onto other people's situations).
 
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Jtucker33

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My Bentall procedure was 3.5 years ago and my cardiologist gave me the go-ahead to start lifting again. At my last appointment, I told him I was going pretty heavy (for me) 150# bench press and 50# curls. I'm sure it's different for some, but he told me that'd be fine as long as I didn't let the bar bounce off my chest. I pay close attention to my breathing.
The only issue I've had is while doing heavy curls I got a bruise on my forearms. The Cumidin clinic nurse told me that wasn't unusual, but I've backed off the weight some and started using the machines more. I'm due to see my cardio again later this spring with another echo
 

Chuck C

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Surgeon and team have advised against even pushups, due to enhanced bp, and resultant stress on interface <stitches> between prosthesis and native aorta. My understanding is prothetic valve and prothetic valve have sufficient fatigue life, but the attachment techniques still need refinement,
Hi DDT77.

As I mentioned earlier, we have both had the same procedure. Thank you for the clarification that your surgery was 4 years ago. In that your medical team does not allow for even a push up, apparently concerned about stress on the suture between your prosthesis and native aorta, per your comment, I thought that I better double check with my cardiologist to make sure that I am not doing myself harm. My memory of our conversation was that I had full clearance for all physical activity, but when I think back on my conversation, I'm pretty sure that I did not specifically ask about lifting weights, or resistance training in general, so I reached out to him yesterday to seek clarification.

I messaged my cardiologist and informed him that I have been doing push ups and lunges and that I am consdering starting a weight lifting program. I specifically asked if there was any concern about stress on sutures at this point.

Here was his reply:

"You can lift weights, but I would not overdo it.

The fact that there was an aneurysm means that the rest of the aorta may eventually enlarge also and so pushing it would still be a risk for future. Sutures should not be the issue, it's the aorta that was not replaced that I'd think about. And so I would not try to be a superman type but yes you can lift weights within reason."

I think that sounds like very reasonable guidance and will follow it. I have no desire to be Superman anyway, as we already have one of those, and I'm no Superman. :)

Although many of us share a common procedure, we all have unique medical situations. If your team is telling you to not do a push up, of course follow that advice- they may be giving you that specific guidance due to a certain unique condition that you have. I am of the view that some resistance training, even light, is important for good health. I've done a lot of reading on longevity, and every longevity expert I've ever read stresses the importance of doing some resistance training. For one thing, doing resistance training now will pay dividends when we are elderly, as being stronger helps us reduce the risk of falls and also the added load on the bones strengthens them and helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis. There are other benefits to resistance training, such as reducing insulin resistance. So, if it was me, and I was told to not do a push up, I would really want to have a good explanation as to why and would probably seek a second opinion. I'm also wondering if they told you this right after surgery and perhaps it was meant as guidance for weeks or months following surgery and not as a lifetime limitation?

But, as Pellicle indicated, you may not even desire to do a push up or exercise at all and might be fine with that guidance, and if that is the case no reason to seek another opinion on the matter.

Some links on the benefits of resistance training:

Resistance training reduces insulin resistance and increases insulin sensitivity:
.

"Many different risk factors contribute to falls, but muscle weakness and poor balance underlie most falls. Strength training against resistance and dynamic balance retraining improve both strength and balance and in randomised controlled trials have been shown to decrease the risk of falls"

" Exercise training, especially resistance exercise, is important for the maintenance of musculoskeletal health in an aging society. RE stimulates MPS by activating a PI3K-Akt-mTORC1 signaling pathway. It also exerts a mechanical load on bones consequently leading to increase in the bone strength. "
 

pellicle

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The only issue I've had is while doing heavy curls I got a bruise on my forearms.
forearms seems an odd place. Anyway the point I was going to make is that much muscle training depends on deliberate (but planned) damage to the muscle which promotes regrowth (interesting link, and I'll bet that researcher always stresses to be called "Len, not Lenny"). It would seem natural then that some amount of intra tissue damage occurs which may cause some bleeding and therefor warfarin will exacerbate any "staining" that occurs from that.

I recently pulled my calf muscle (failed to warm up sufficiently, which is more common as we age anyway) and had a corker of a bruise and swelling. Anway I felt it happen and went inside (I was actually working not exercising) and did RICE technique and I'm sure that helped.

As we get older we have to understand that "age is not just a number"

Keep at it :)
 

Froller2

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Talked to the surgeon today, he said that I can't lift heavy and need to be able to talk and breath normally while lifting and be able to do 15-25reps of a given exercise
so thats pretty much means i can no longer train, and my dream of getting big is dead:( it bothers me so much that i cant do what i want to anymore, no contact sport, no lifting no green veggies (more than a certain amount) cant go out with the mates and get piss drunk .
 

Chuck C

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no lifting no green veggies (more than a certain amount) cant go out with the mates and get piss drunk .
Sorry that you were not given the news that you wanted about heavy lifting. Although this is not the type of lifting that you want to do, you can get good results doing lower weight and higher reps, as your surgeon is allowing. You should give it a try. I've been doing push ups 6 days/week and leg lunges 3x per week and have seen results myself. I will never be able to get back to my college days when I was lifting heavy, but I believe that high rep has better long term health benefits, so I'm personally ok with it.

As to your comment about not eating green veggies, yes you can. I suggest you self test your INR and see how much change, if any occurs when you gradually eat more greens. And if it does drop, you just adjust your warfarin dose accordingly. There are several threads on this forum about this topic and those who have been taking warfarin for years will generally tell you the same thing. I've been on it for just over a year and I eat as much greens as I want. Most days I have anywhere from 1 to 3 large Mediterranean salads, loaded with greens. My INR is in range over 90% of the time.

There are also threads on drinking alcohol which I suggest that you check out. True, it is probably not a good idea to go out and get piss drunk- the that is primarily because you don't want to fall down and hit your head. If you self test, you can see how your INR responds to 1,2, 3+ drinks. I have had several days in which I drink a lot over course of the day, if I am with my friends watching the fights. I will usually check my INR the next morning. For me, it does not respond at all if I have 1-3 drinks. On the rare occasions in which I drink 5+, it will go up a little, but still stay in my safe range.

They key is to "know thyself", which is why self testing is the way to go.
 

tom in MO

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Talked to the surgeon today, he said that I can't lift heavy and need to be able to talk and breath normally while lifting and be able to do 15-25reps of a given exercise
so thats pretty much means i can no longer train, and my dream of getting big is dead:( it bothers me so much that i cant do what i want to anymore, no contact sport, no lifting no green veggies (more than a certain amount) cant go out with the mates and get piss drunk .
Start swimming. A swimmer's body is a lot sexier to most than a "hulk." Plus it's good for your overall cardiovascular health. "Open a new door."
 

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