Looking for advice from any cyclist who has had a heart bypass



ClemmonsHoo

New Member
May 6, 2004
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I am 45, have been road biking for 6 years, and am (was) in great shape. My average speed on my group's weekly rides was 18-20 mph here in hilly NC on a Trek 5200. I was also training for a TT this October. In July I was dusting everyone up a long hill when - BOOM - outta nowhere I had a major MI that required a coronary bypass that night. It was caused by the dissection of my LAD artery within a myocardial bridge (part of my LAD dipped into my heart muscle). I am on 25mg Toprol, 2.5mg Altace, and Aspirin. My recovery has been slow and difficult because I am a small guy, so they had to open me up a long way compared to most people they get.

A few questions for any other cyclists out there with bypasses. I realize I will never race now, and no TTs are in my future (and I had just bought a new set of Easton Tempest IIs too that are still in the box!), but what are my chances of being able to hang with my buds next year? What are your experiences with this? Are you still on medications (my normal BP was 110/65 and I have no artery disease, but I'm on these meds "to heal my heart" as the Cardio Doc put it)? I guess I'm just looking for a pep talk as I'm pretty bummed about this whole thing. Cycling, and cycling hard was a real passion of mine and my major stress relief in life.

I start cardio rehab next week. I'm not sure how that will go as these meds really sap my energy, but I'm hoping it will give me a better outlook on life. I also have an echo stress test coming up in November.

Oh yeah, word to the wise. If you're an older rider and thinking of stepping up your training (that's what I did), please see your doc first. If I had done that, they may have found that myocardial bridge that I didn't know about (and 25% of the population may have this). All my life I was always told I had a benign heart murmur, when in fact I had a time bomb in my chest.
 

lehowe0

New Member
Aug 30, 2005
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I had a mild heart attack in April of this year. I had 5 stints put in, and 1 angioplasty. I was a little sceptical when they told me to just go back to my regular routine, but I slowly worked back up to doing everything I did before. Of course there is a difference between getting stints and having bypass surgery, but I remember the doctors telling Pres. Clinton that he could run 5 miles a day after he healed up, so I would say that you'll do a lot better than you might think.

I'll rack up some miles on the weekend on really rough out of the way country roads, completely by myself, and most days, I will forget that I even had a problem. This includes some mean long steep hills. At first I was afraid of those hills, but the doctor told me not to worry about them at my 3 month checkup, so I quit worrying about them and charge right up them.

I'd say your doctors will tell you what you can or cannot do.
 

Geebs

New Member
Apr 18, 2005
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ClemmonsHoo said:
I am 45, have been road biking for 6 years, and am (was) in great shape. My average speed on my group's weekly rides was 18-20 mph here in hilly NC on a Trek 5200. I was also training for a TT this October. In July I was dusting everyone up a long hill when - BOOM - outta nowhere I had a major MI that required a coronary bypass that night. It was caused by the dissection of my LAD artery within a myocardial bridge (part of my LAD dipped into my heart muscle). I am on 25mg Toprol, 2.5mg Altace, and Aspirin. My recovery has been slow and difficult because I am a small guy, so they had to open me up a long way compared to most people they get.

A few questions for any other cyclists out there with bypasses. I realize I will never race now, and no TTs are in my future (and I had just bought a new set of Easton Tempest IIs too that are still in the box!), but what are my chances of being able to hang with my buds next year? What are your experiences with this? Are you still on medications (my normal BP was 110/65 and I have no artery disease, but I'm on these meds "to heal my heart" as the Cardio Doc put it)? I guess I'm just looking for a pep talk as I'm pretty bummed about this whole thing. Cycling, and cycling hard was a real passion of mine and my major stress relief in life.

I start cardio rehab next week. I'm not sure how that will go as these meds really sap my energy, but I'm hoping it will give me a better outlook on life. I also have an echo stress test coming up in November.

Oh yeah, word to the wise. If you're an older rider and thinking of stepping up your training (that's what I did), please see your doc first. If I had done that, they may have found that myocardial bridge that I didn't know about (and 25% of the population may have this). All my life I was always told I had a benign heart murmur, when in fact I had a time bomb in my chest.
I had my heart attack in March 04 at the tender age of 43 (damn, its only supposed to happen to old people isn't it?). In my case it was angioplasty with 2 stents inserted, so not as drastic as yours, I took up road cycling afterwards as part of my ongoing exercise and now I'm having a ball and will be doing a 210km ride in about a weeks time (haven't told the cardiologist yet, that happens 2 days before the ride:) ).

At about 3 months after your surgery I would say you are still very much in the recovery phase (after all it is a pretty big cut they have to make for bypass surgery) 12 months down the track you will be feeling pretty much back to normal. If your problem had been due to artery disease then you would end up feeling better than you were before the attack but as you say yours was due to a different problem.

your previous average ride speed 18-20mph (30-32kph) is about where I cruise these days so should be achievable for you.

Just in case you are wondering I'm not that big a guy either at 73kg (160lb). Its not fair there are plenty of fat sedentary smokers out there who you would think should be candidates for a heart attack before us skinny guys but S*#t happens!

On the positive side you now know exactly what condition your heart is in, there are a lot of people out there who still have a ticking time bomb but don't know it.

I heard a statistic a little while ago that for 30% of people who suffer heart attacks their first presentation of symptoms has a fatal outcome, welcome to the lucky 70%.

Cheers Geebs