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Can mild aortic insufficiency be exacerbated by weight lifting?

Are some types of weight lifting worse than others for aortic insufficiency?  Does attention to continuous breathing during lifting have any obviating effect on the exacerbation of aortic insufficiency?


This discussion is related to Weightlifting and sprinting for an asymptomatic individual w/ moderate aortic regurgitation.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
Have you read up on aortic insufficiency?  As I understand it, the precautions regarding weightlifting and strenuous exercise are directly related both the the degree of leakage or backflow AND blood pressure.  If your leakage is mild or mild to moderate and the condition appears to be fairly stable, and if your blood pressure is normal, then you probably have either few or no restrictions on your physical activity.  But heavy, serious weightlifting inevitably raises peripheral blood pressure through resistance in the extremities, and that's the big factor.  As far as I know, the pressure rises in this kind of exercise regardless of how you breathe (although you obviously don't want to Valsalva yourself in any case).  Thus, there is real potential for this kind of pressure spike to further damage the already compromised leaflets of the valve.
Avatar universal
Thanks very much. Your reply is consistent with most of what I have read, but my cardiologist, after talking to my trainer, seemed to think that as long as I avoided valsalva the exercise was fine.  I am concerned that he was overly impressed with my trainer's argument and mistakenly gave advice that is insufficiently conservative, considering the gravity of the issue. My condition is mild.  If you have any further thoughts or resources on this they are much appreciated. Thanks again.
Avatar universal
In going back through messages related to this subject, I find one which quotes a study involving what you are interested in.  There is no citation, so it would be a chore to find where and when the study was done, but here's the message:

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Heart-Disease/weight-lifting-with-bicuspid-valve/show/1230331

You will note that during controlled exhalation, the pressures were 198/175, in fact much lower than those generated with a Valsalva maneuver, but high enough that I, with my mild-to-moderate aortic regurg, wouldn't be doing any power lifting.  Even if I just had mild leakage, I would still probably content myself with fitness-level lifting, in the interests of delaying a valve replacement.

I guess it comes down to an assessment of risk vs benefits.
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