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Exercise and Aortic Stenosis
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Exercise and Aortic Stenosis

I am a 55 yo male diagnosed with a bicuspid valve and Aortic Stenosis with mild regurgitation.  The valve opening (aortic valve) has decreased over 3 years from 2.0 to 1.5 cm.  The root diameter (aortic valve) has increased to 3.6 cm.

I am an avid recreational (non-competitive) runner, training for and completing one full marathon per year and about 6 half marathons, in addition to weekly competitions ranging from 3 miles to 6 miles.

Am I putting myself at risk continuing my running program?  What am I at risk for?  (i.e. fainting, sudden death etc.)  More importantly, how can I go about determining when my exercise begins to cause me a problem, i.e. is there a test that you can recommend to give an accurate idea of what is going on in my aortic valve during exercise that may put me at risk?

My exercise program is very integral to my life and I do not want to stop or change it unless I am putting myself at risk.

Thank you so much...
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Hi Jimmy,

Sorry to read about your bicuspid valve and stenosis.  The usual coarse of your disease is progressive stenosis and the eventual need for aortic valve replacement -- I am sure you know that part.

It is pretty difficult to place a percent risk on your exercise routine.  The take home message is that as your valve stenosis progresses, you will start to develop symptoms that usually include chest pain, shortness of breat, or heart failure symptoms.  You will most likely experience a decrease in exercise tolerance.  If you start having chest pain, heart failure symptoms or pass out (syncope), those are indication that your valve may need replaced sooner than later.

I respect that exercise is a normal part or your day and wish more Americans would do the same.  But I would recommend working closely with your doctor to determine when your rigorous exercise routine is less safe.  The time to symptoms is different for everyone aortic stenosis is different.  It is impossible to predict now when you may start to have problems.

I hope this helps answer your question, but the real answer is that there is no concrete answer and it differs from person to person.

Good luck and happy running.
5 Comments
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I would like to suggest a website to you that has been immensely helpful in understanding my son's aortic regurgitation.  We too have surgery waiting for us in the undetermined future.  It is called ValveReplacement.com and has been a real life-saver in understanding and coming to terms with myy son's condition.Best of luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello:  I am 67 and have aortic stenosis - possible LVH.

I had an ultrasound 1.5 years ago and the technician at the VA said my ejaculation rate was either a 55 or 65 (can't remember) and that he was only 45 years old and his was either a 52 or 62 - so he said he was going to recommend to the cardiologist that we do nothing for awhile as far as valve replacement goes. The cardiologist wanted to order a valve replacement but I said no - I didn't want to at this point.  I thought at the time and still do somewhat that he wanted to do it more to justify his position at a quiet VA hospital than for medical necessity.

I have run and lifted weights all my life and hope to continue doing that.

I think that's why I'm in as good a shape as I am - and have had a murmur for 25 years now and had strep throat at 18 and 19 years old and possibly rhumatic fever since I wasn't taken to the doctor until I was really sick.

For the last while I haven't excercised very much - been busy with my websites and trying to make money.  I've also felt very fatigued when I mow the lawn and have to stop to get my breath often.  Whether it's the valve - a weakened heart due to not exercising enough, or just being out of shape - I'd like to know and have your guesses.  I'm back working out and doing aerobics now and feeling a bit fatigued but not bad.  I can ride my exercise bike 100 minutes with no problems, and have never been dizzy or had chest pains or fainted - except as related to high blood pressure which is normal under medication now.  It has been up to 200/110 just about 3 years ago and under a lot heavier medication - but now under much lighter medication - 2 180 cardizem cds a day and 10 mg diuretic twice a day, brings me 105/49 to 135/70 - and usually toward the lower.

I limit my salt a lot more than I used to and eat more vegetables.

Thanks for any help you can give.

MajorHart
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A related discussion, aortic stenosis was started.
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