Posted on March 24th, 2008 under Patient Stories & Updates.
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.
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!