Chad Shieber, Marathon Runner Dies Due To Mitral Valve Prolapse And Heat

Over the past few years, I have been incredibly close to unwelcome tragedy relating to heart valve disorders.  The word “tragedy” is the key part.

For those people who are asymptomatic, there are no warning signals. There are no mitral valve prolapse symptoms. There is no way of knowing the true impact of a mitral valve prolapse during a 26 mile race in 90 degree weather.

That was the issue with Chad Shieber who passed away during the Chicago marathon last week.  While initial reports placed fatal blame on the unseasonal heat of my former hometown city, Chicago, the autopsy and medical records showed that the other conspirator of this untimely death was a defective heart valve. To learn more about mitral valve prolapse, click here.

Chad Shieber had a mitral valve prolapse. Chad Shieber had been cleared by his physicians to run the race.

This is a tough blog to write.  Chad had a wife, three kids and was only 35 years old.

I am 35 years old. I am recently married.

While the similarities appear to stop there, my sadness for Chad Shieber and his family does not.

If only it wasn’t 90 degrees that day.

If only Chad stopped to take a break and walk on mile eighteen…

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Schiebers.

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • david cohen

    my name is david.i had mitral valve min invasisive surgery 4/09/09.
    Like you, I was in very good shape prior to the surgery (35 marathons,10ks halfs etc)AlthoughI am feeling better its still not the same.
    After reading your book I was very comfortable with the operation as well as the recovery.Your surfing story and vicodin episodes are quite familiar.
    I would like to know when you started to feel really good Because I”m waiting very” patiently”
    thanks for a great book,continued super health and I hope to hear from you.

  • Kevin


    I had my aortic valve replaced with a cow valve last October along with receiving a pace maker. Prior to surgery I was running 30 miles a week. I’ve been through cardiac rehab and have gradually started running. My cardiologist cut me back from 5 miles/per day to 3 miles/per day. He did this primarily because of my low reported blood pressure readings, which vary widely because of the beta blockers I’m now taking. I have had readings below 90/60. With this background in mind, I’d like your thoughts (or the thoughts of others) regarding my continuing to exercise (which sometimes includes weight lifting). I’m taking the beta blockers to reduce my enlarged heart, which occurred as a result of my heart valve regurgitation, which in turn triggered my valve replacement. Am I risking damaging my heart by trying to get to back to my presurgery running routine?


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