Aa
Aa
A
A
A
Close
18547660 tn?1465755398

When and how resume exercising after AVNRT ablation

A little background about me and my condition:
26 years old, been active for most of my conscious life but ever since early teen years I've noticed that during intense exercises (for example fast paced basketball drills) my heart tends to beat very fast. Well that didn't bother me, what I disliked was significant drop of performance as a result. I usually wrote it of on being out of shape at the give time. So the years went by and as I naturally added some weight as I grew older "heart pounding" became more of an issue. I always tried to do my best while doing various sports(basketball, tennis, running, cycling, xc skiing) and activities but because of the condition I just couldn't keep up with my peers. I did see my doctor and did ECG test, but when I am at rest nothing abnormal shows up. Revelations came when about a year ago I bought a heart rate monitor(Polar M400 to be precise). It gave me a clearer idea about what was happening and when...
I normally run with HR of 150-160 bpm, but when I exceed 170 (around my anaerobic threshold level) I get a good chance of heart rate dropping to 120 within 5 seconds and then jumping all the way up to 220 where it lingers until I stop all activities and stay in squatted position (helps drop the HR to below 100 in about 10-20 seconds)... Another problem occurred when for example I finished my run (avg. HR 155) and dropped pace to quickly my HR would race over 200...
So basically I figured that in order to avoid this tachycardia I have to exercise moderately within certain HR bpm and avoid dropping pace to rapidly... well that's a bugger as I highly enjoy entering local cycling and running marathon races. I could say goodbye to basketball as I simply couldn't push for long at 220 bpm (as I understand lack of oxygen to the brain would make me quite dizzy)...so I tried to seek help once again.

Seeking help:
I got good health insurance from work so i went to see so called sports doctor and got a veloergometry test load test. The test confirmed my issue and doctor said I have a SVT. I also did Echocardiography and another ECG with good results. I was recommended to visit an cardiologist who quickly suggested ablation procedure. I quickly agreed as that seemed to be the only logical solution.
I had procedure on june 6th, 2016 and during that I was more specifically diagnosed with AVNRT and as I understand the "slow" pathway got fixed. Doctor said that he managed to provoke SVT and fix the cause. After the fix he couldn't provoke it anymore. I was told that in cases like mine there is only 5% chance that I would need a secondary procedure. I thought the doctor would give a detailed info how to resume physical activities, but all he said was "wait 1 week until scars in the groin area heel and go do whatever you want"... well only from this website I found out that you actually need months for heart to recover... but before that I tried a mtb cycling ride with gradually increasing workload. At first I felt very good even at high bpm, but about 15-20 min in I felt discomfort in heart region, general tiredness and my heart rate raced up to 220... that's when I figured that going full throttle so soon isn't a sound idea...

So finally the QUESTION:
Could someone please explain/comment how fast and at what rate can I resume some exercises? I figured maybe I can ride some base training miles in HR 120-130 bpm, bur are there any other guidelines. Could my post procedure SVT occurrence be simply a result of fully unhealed heart? Any replies would be highly appreciated! Feel free to ask additional questions for me to elaborate my situation !

3 Responses
1807132 tn?1318743597
It can be hard to tell at high levels but the tell tale sign of svt is when it starts and stops in one beat.  So though it went to 220 when you exerted yourself it wasn't necessarily your svt unless you felt a distinct abrupt start and stop.  In general the resting heart rate is elevated after an ablation.  I am not sure why but I suspect if the resting is high the exertion levels would be high as well.  It took 3 months for my resting heart rate to return to normal after my ablation.  I started exercising within a week of my ablation but didn't push myself until I felt I was able.  I just worked up to heavier work outs.  So maybe just take it a bit slow for the first 3 months and then see where you are at.  It's only been a week since your ablation so give it a bit more time.  

I will mention that the drop you felt prior to it racing where it went down to 120 could have been a single premature beat.  The premature beats are something unrelated to the svt but they feed off each other.  Physical exertion can bring them on as can caffeine, sugars and carbohydrates, spicy foods and stress/anxiety.  I didn't have a clue I had them until after I had my svt fixed I found my heart was still jumpy.  They seemed to be more active after my ablation and actually took a couple of years for them to settle down to where they don't bother me much but unfortunately once we get them we may never get them.  The discomfort you felt could have been from one of the premature beats.  But again, with a bit of time your heart will feel better.  Just try to drink lots of water and do long warm ups and cool downs as opposed to pushing all out and putting stress on the heart until you feel strong enough to do so.  With your physical background and age you could bounce back much sooner than most.  But rest assured it will get better.  Just give it a bit of time.  

And so you are aware, the only way to have cured yourself from the svt was through ablation.  Tailoring your exercise routine would not rid you of it because it was caused by extra muscle fibers that we were born with that don't go away so having the ablation really was the best thing you could have done for the long term health of your heart.  AVNRT in general isn't an immediate danger but at we age it can take a toll on the heart so it's good you got it fixed.  Take care.    
2 Comments
Hi Eddy, I had my ablation for AVNRT 11th April 2016. 48 male, former competitive mountain biker, no meds etc. You are right they do not give you much information about post ablation healing and expected recovery times. I have not started a full exercise regime yet as I had a awful post ablation reaction/exhaustion and I was off work for 3 weeks feeling terrible. Still not right but I hope the experiences of most people on here are consistent with recovery times etc.
Thank you for response! I do think it is a premature beat of some sort...Usually when I work out and push hard, at some point I start feeling more tension and stiffness around heart are and then premature beat happens which as I understand transfers to the svt. You mentioned "ingredients" that bring on the problems...unfortunately I am guilty of all of them :) Some I believe I can reduce, some not so much (either way I do believe any of them are within reason). Insertion point in my groin area haven't healed 100% just yet, so I hope my heart is also in a recovery state...
1089281 tn?1314567514
I have had two ablations and they worked.  I was told each time that it would take three months for my heart to totally heal.  they did tell me that I could resume walking up to about 5 miles daily after the first week and gradually increase back to my normal 10-12 miles daily.  However I was in my mid sixties at the time and did not run,,,,only brisk walking ,,,,4-5 mph,,,,im 74 now  and still walking and the ablation is still working.....hope this helps a little ...claytex
1 Comments
thanks Michelle P
1423357 tn?1511085442
It took me, an active 60 y/o at the time about 8 weeka to return to 100%.  That said, I was exercising lightly within a week of my ablation for left sided AVRT.  There was a rinner on here (littlegreenman);who competed in a 10k two weeks after his ablation for AVNRT,so I think it varies.  I think it has a lot to do with how conditioned your heart is going in that determines recovery time.
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Heart Rhythm Community

Top Arrhythmias Answerers
1807132 tn?1318743597
Chicago, IL
1423357 tn?1511085442
Central, MA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Are there grounds to recommend coffee consumption? Recent studies perk interest.
Salt in food can hurt your heart.
Get answers to your top questions about this common — but scary — symptom
How to know when chest pain may be a sign of something else
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.