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Weightlifting After Open Heart Valve Surgery

Posted by Adam Pick on March 24th, 2008

I was recently asked by Doug, a patient preparing for heart valve replacement, “Have you been weightlifting after open heart surgery?”

My answer was a definitive and delightful, “Yes. I have lifted weights after open heart surgery.”

However, I DID NOT rush back into the weight room after heart valve replacement surgery. It took several months before I was lifting weights again. You should also know that I never lift to bulk-up.

Lifting Weights After Cardiac Bypass Surgery

Doctor Vaughn Starnes, my heart surgeon, told me that lifting heavy weights puts additional strain on the heart valves. Over time, the strain on the heart valves can become problematic – both before and after surgery. That said, Dr. Starnes told me to lift for tone (repetition) not for muscle build-up. To learn more about my surgeon, click here.

I’ve taken his advice to heart (pun intended) and really focused on aerobic exercises I learned to really enjoy during cardiac rehabilitation.

Remember, heart valve surgery SHOULD NOT be the end of your active lifestyle. However, to be incredibly safe, I suggest you contact your surgeon to discuss weightlifting after open heart surgery. As you probably are aware, every patient is unique.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick A dad, a husband and a patient, Adam Pick founded this website in 2006 to educate you about heart valve surgery from diagnosis to recovery.
You can get the latest updates about heart valve surgery from Adam at his Facebook, and Twitter pages. Click here to email him.


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