Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Posts from Jan. 1, 2018 to the present. Plus important announcements. (ICD warning sounds)

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Cathyb
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Joined: November 25th, 2018, 12:05 pm

Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by Cathyb » December 6th, 2018, 11:50 am

HI,
I am or was a very active 55 year old that has been running marathons for years. In June I started having chest pain that was diagnosed as Angina from coronary spasms. I was put on medication and given fast acting Nitrates for the pain if/when I had a spasm. After numerous spasms I was put on a 30 day holter monitor. With the first spasm I was told I went into v-tach. My cardiologist put a stent in the artery they thought was spasming, I was put on yet another medication and sent home. A week later another spasm which caused my heart to go into v-fib, another trip to the hospital and the implantation of an ICD. I am at best saddened by the implantation and at worse feel it was completely unnecessary. I don't know how to get back to my previous life style. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Leedur
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Joined: May 24th, 2015, 10:25 pm

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by Leedur » December 6th, 2018, 1:42 pm

First, welcome to the party. V-tac = V-fib =cardiac arrest=death. Felt I really didnt really need the ICD after my implant until it saved me 14 months later and again recently. Seem to remember reading article written by a doctor who also ran marathons and his conclusion was it is harmful and caused wall thickening of the heart.....I could be wrong?

There comes a time when we all have to slow down. Lost a friend a couple of years ago who was told to wear the vest pending ICD implant and he refused. His wife found him deceased on the floor a week later. We just learn to live with whatever happens in life as part of aging.

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ROBO Pop
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Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by ROBO Pop » December 6th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Welcome to the club for the beautiful everyone hates belonging to.
Cathyb wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 11:50 am
With the first spasm I was told I went into v-tach. My cardiologist put a stent in the artery they thought was spasming, I was put on yet another medication and sent home. A week later another spasm which caused my heart to go into v-fib, another trip to the hospital and the implantation of an ICD.
I can't stress enough, you of all people should not be questioning whether getting an ICD implanted was a wise choice. Having enjoyed a bout of Ventricular Fibrillation without a pocket protector you are one very very lucky woman to have survived. The survival rate for people experiencing V-Fib without immediate intervention is extremely low. Look around here, you'll see that while many of our members are brain dead, most have survived a near death experience.

As to getting back into your old life, that's a decision that you'll need to make with your Cardiologist. Many people do get back to their old routines, including running, but not everyone is that fortunate. Too many variables for us to help you predict. Still I know many many marathoners and pone common theme is they suffer Cardiac arrhythmias. One can't help but believe that there's a correlation between running and heart damage.

We wish you good luck on your new journey and hope you have patience and heal before thinking about getting back to extreme athletic endeavors. The old adage no pain, no gain has been proven wrong, especially for us.
Broken Heart
Nobody has ever survived life, but I'm trying...
My story and sticking to it
http://www.icdsupportgroup.org/board/vi ... 97&p=91375

InSync
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Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by InSync » December 8th, 2018, 10:26 am

I agree with ROBO. Any heart prone to frequent VT and especially VF needs an ICD if the patient desires to remain alive. Otherwise, carry on until its over.

As far as exercise, I suggest cardiac rehab. You are continuously monitored and the facility is staffed with medical personnel. It is helpful to learn how much your heart will tolerate before it rebels. It also helps to regain confidence.


Unfortunately, you will likely have some limitations going forward.....not because of the device, but because your heart is no longer working as it did before. How much you push it will always be up to you.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy, LBBB, CHF
St. Jude CRT-D 5/12
The beat goes on.....

Cathyb
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Joined: November 25th, 2018, 12:05 pm

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by Cathyb » December 8th, 2018, 6:30 pm

Thank you for the responses.
I am trying to get on board the "this will save my life" train. Hopefully I'll never have to find out.

It would be interesting to know if any if you exercise regularly?

Leedur
Posts: 313
Joined: May 24th, 2015, 10:25 pm

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by Leedur » December 8th, 2018, 9:08 pm

@Cathyb. Yes, I have been a regular in the gym for many years. Believe in overall body training with weights, machines along with bike, treadmill cardio.....walking on indoor track....all in moderate intensity.

My cardiac adventures started 20 years ago with bypass surgery and I did go through rehab for 2 months as InSync recommends. 6 years later a heart attack due to plaque rupture in right coronary artery needing 2 stents. Arrhythmia issues started about 5 years ago resulting in ICD implant.

I know most are fearful of the shock but my two were more startling....not painful and over before I realized what happened ...no pain after. Believe some have previously stated that statistics here indicate most have never received a shock (therapy).

My cardiologist said to look at it this way "If you get shocked it probably just saved your life".

Know it must be hard to mentally adjust from marathon class to new limitations. Good luck and many here can share information, advice and some personal experiences that may help you.

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mykidsmom
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Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by mykidsmom » December 9th, 2018, 4:59 pm

I dont think you really get on board and appreciate the ICD until it does its job and works and actually saves your life......then it becomes part of your new normal as people say..(i hate that expression incidentally) and when the initial healing process is over.....im pretty certain you get get back to doing what your able to do....dont be afraid....your body will let you know how far you can push it...i listen to my body and my abilities rather than drs....and hey..im still here lol..
I think.....Therefore I am.!!!!!

slk123
Posts: 704
Joined: January 27th, 2015, 8:00 am
Location: Northern Illinois

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by slk123 » December 9th, 2018, 7:01 pm

Hi and welcome. I acquired my ICD when I was 45 after having 2 SCAs while excercising. I was very fit and did yoga, swimming, biking, running, weight lifting, insanity, kick boxing. It’s been 4 years and I’m still trying to excercise regularly but am not able to. I now have heart failure and just don’t have the strength nor energy to do it regularly.

I have found enough strength to run a 5k once a month and end up walking when I can. That isn’t too often because the weather gets to me now. I’m in the Midwest USA and have difficulties when temps are below 40f and above 80f.

Remember, this is me. You will figure out your limitations and how to work within them. It will take some time but it is doable. Hang in there!
Best wishes,
Stacey

CHF Jan 2016
ICD Nov 2014
LBBB Nov 2014
Sudden cardiac arrest Nov 2014
Arrhythmia Aug 1982

Dale
Posts: 4
Joined: December 4th, 2018, 10:44 am
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by Dale » December 15th, 2018, 2:05 pm

Hello,
I received my ICD in September of this year and was back in the gym two weeks latter, however only walking on the treadmill. Experienced some discomfort but that continues to get better every week!
I just had my 3 month check up and was cleared to do any type of exercise I chose. (They did see that I went into Afib for 12 hours on October 11 when I was on the treadmill. Then returned to normal. Never felt it.)
Restarting weight lifting, swiming and 3 miles of treadmill 5 days a week. So far so good.
BTW I am 66 years old.

Good luck.
MI in 1992, quad bypass in 97, 5 stents,
14% PVC'S, EF < 20% when in Afib low 30's after cardoversion.

Leedur
Posts: 313
Joined: May 24th, 2015, 10:25 pm

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by Leedur » December 15th, 2018, 8:33 pm

Dale, sounds like your recovery is going well. Think I would take it easy on any overhead pulling cable machines. Maybe with minimal weight to help avoid frozen shoulder. However if you swim it should not be an issue. Good luck.

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Colin Pearson
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Location: Berkshire England

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by Colin Pearson » December 16th, 2018, 8:24 am

As has been mentioned endurance atheletes seem to be prone to A-FIB (atrial fibrillation) and other heart electrical issues. Having a feeling of regret and feeling sorry for yourself is perfectly normal and all part of the ICD expereience, at least initialy. I really didn't want mine and at first felt the same as you but the ICD has saved my life five times now in as many years.

As for exercise, it most certainly is still possible but it is maybe time to hang up the running shoes and do something else.

I'm limited by the high dose of beta blockers I take to stop the arrythmias breaking through so am not really able run other than very short distances until I'm out of breath and have to stop. However there are other things you can do.

Cycling is what gives me my fix, all be it slower than I'd like for the same reason as why I cannot run. I have an annual target of 2,000 miles on the bike, which sounds like nothing but can be a struggle at times at 10mph! I've also been in the pool a few times lately and next year I'm going to incorporate that into my regime, I'm going to set a target of a slow 52 miles of breaststoke swimming for 2019.

The "New normal" has also been mentioned above and whilst it may be a bit of a cliche for us lot who have had their ICD's a while, for someone who is new to it, it is very important to understand and accept that things really are different now. But it is equally important to accept that you need to adapt into a "new normal".

howdywelcome

nloster
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Joined: November 16th, 2018, 11:32 am

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by nloster » January 7th, 2019, 5:44 am

When it comes to exercise I think everyone has their particular profile. Sometimes more specifics will give better insight to help you understand your situation and manage expectations.

In my case I recently had an ICD implanted on my 62nd birthday (how poetic) and did 8 weeks of cardiac rehab. I have the usual high dose of beta blockers which prevents my heart exceeding 95 bpm with a resting rate of 50-55; even less when asleep. Before all this I would have a resting pulse of 60 with 125-130 bpm on stress tests.

While I was not a runner I am an avid golfer (walking 25-30 miles per week) and have had no limitations on my activities. In fact, I continue to do rehab on my own nickel and can now run in alternating intervals of a minute or two with brisk walking breaks for another minute or two. Total exercise time is 25 minutes without any fatigue. Again heart rate does not exceed 95 even when running.

Perhaps the most interesting fact was my EF. I had a MI 23 years ago (also on my birthday) leaving a 9 mm scar at the apex of my heart. My EF for the past 23 years was 40-44% and I never had any problems with fatigue. Just after my ventricular storm requiring 5 shocks in 5 hours, my EF dipped to 35% but recovered a week later to 44%. With daily yoga type breathing exercises and cardiac rehab, I was just measured at 50% and was thrilled. I doubt my heart is any better at pumping, rather my body is perhaps more fit making it easier for the heart to perform more efficiently.

I was advised by my cardiologist who did the ICD surgery to avoid swimming because the repetitive movement of my left arm could stress the lead causing it to break. He was less concerned about golf and in fact the ICD has not been a problem with my swing at all.

I guess the bottom line is that I have been very fortunate and hope that my story will give others some insight as to what is possible.

Davis
Posts: 5
Joined: April 6th, 2016, 7:05 am

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by Davis » January 9th, 2019, 5:34 am

Hi all
I got my ICD for VT and AVNRT in October 2015 ( and 4 ablations)and started cardio rehab August 2016. Middle November 2016 I was allowed to start my old normal exercises outdoors and has since done 10 marathons, 2 ultra trail runs, lots of half marathons and full Ironman (3.8km swim/180km cycle/42 km run). There are days that I think what will happen when I train and it happens …but I try to be positive and keep going. For most of the events my wife stays with me (we do everything together) for the fear that something will happen. I have entered half and full Ironman this January and April 2019 again.
So at 56 I try to be positive and believe I am cured and if it happens, it will but then I have my backup.

I had the privileged to be part of the Medtronic Global Champions 2018 group to run the Twin Cities Marathon in October 2018 and to meet 19 wonderful inspiring athletes from all over the world. All athletes that has come back into sport through technology. GRIT ...DETERMINATION....TRIUMPH.
There is life with a ICD ...each in our own way.

Leedur
Posts: 313
Joined: May 24th, 2015, 10:25 pm

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by Leedur » January 9th, 2019, 7:05 pm

Davis........In reference to your Marathon training and events, you wrote "For most of the events my wife stays with me (we do everything together) for the fear that something will happen."

Not sure what your wife can do beyond calling for help.....when something happens it's too late for prevention. I am one of a few members here that experienced a shock while driving and I continued to drive.

Whose to say, maybe you will be the first marathon runner here to experience a shock and keep running. I am not knocking your enthusiasm and ability.....all I can say is Wow.

Davis
Posts: 5
Joined: April 6th, 2016, 7:05 am

Re: Beginning an exercise program after getting an ICD

Post by Davis » January 10th, 2019, 4:34 am

Hi Leedur

I have had multiple shocks while doing a swimming set...….she was there to keep the other people calm...lol
In South Africa not much in known about ICD's.

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