Running After Heart Valve Surgery
In my humble opinion, developing recovery milestones is a critical, often over-looked, element of heart valve surgery recovery. As patients heal following surgery, many experience perceived or actual heart valve complications. To learn more about complications post-op, click here.
That said, recovery milestones are tangible signs of progress which counter a lurking thought that most patients feel at some point during recovery. That thought is, “I think something is wrong!”
Personally, I developed a series of recovery milestones that I wrote about in a prior blog. So you know, I keep developing these recovery benchmarks even though I had my double heart valve replacement twenty-three months ago.
I am happy to report that I achieved another milestone earlier today. As some of you know, I am currently in Tokyo on a business trip. I awoke to a beautiful day here in Japan – clear skies with the temperature in the high 60’s.
I couldn’t resist… I decided it was time to go for a run before my morning meetings. However, this time, I decided to leave my heart rate monitor behind.
I know this may seem trivial – running after heart surgery without a heart monitor.
But, it isn’t.
For the past year and a half, I have clung to my heart rate monitor, almost like I clung to my blankie when I was three. It’s really quite amazing to see how my heart rate has changed since my surgery, since entering cardiac rehab, since graduating from cardiac rehab and then exercising by myself.
Running after heart surgery used to cause my heart rate to soar to 180 beats per minute. Now, I’m hovering at around 167 BPM once I hit stride. (FYI, it’s common if your heart rate is a little higher following surgery.)
Anyways, the run this morning was great. There is a sense of liberation that occurred as I huffed and puffed through downtown Tokyo. Granted, I’m not Veronika Meyer climbing Mount Everest following heart valve replacement surgery, but you never know!
Now? I’m off for some more sushi!
Plus, it’s time to develop some more recovery milestones.
I hope this help you understand more about running after heart valve surgery.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.