Hello my name is Sebastian,
two years ago, at the age of 16 i was diagnosed with extremely mild aortic valve regurgitation. At that time i was playing basketball competitavly and had dreams of becoming a star player. My doctors recomended and told my parents that i should completely stop playing competitive basketball. for a year i just played golf, and was bored out of my mind, also beause of no exercise my immunity was suffereing. so 5 months ago i started going to the gym because i needed at least some execise, since i started in the gym i feel better than ever and i have never suffered from any symptoms. The last time i went to a check up was probably fresh when i started going to the gym june time, and my doctor could not find the deformed valve on the eco any longer. So my question is, is kayaking an ok sport for the disease i have? can i try and take it to the top level? Also i was wondering could it be that what the doctors saw was just a mild deformaty that comes with growing? that it could have gotten better since they did not see it last time? Oh and one last thing, i had a stress test and that came up completely normal, like I didnt have the disease but the doctor said, incase he would limit me to pushing my heart rate max to 180 in running and 220 on a bike; is kayaking more like running or on the bike?
Sorry for this long essay bu these are questions that really get to me, if you could help me answer them i would be really happy.
Without evaluating your information and you directly, it is hard for me to say exactly what needs to be done here. I find it very difficult to believe that “extremely mild” aortic regurgitation would be grounds enough to keep you from playing competitive basketball, or any competitive aerobic activity, for that matter. It is unclear to me whether you have a bicuspid aortic valve, in which the aortic valve has two functional leaflets. If this is so, then you are also at risk for progression of the aortic valve leak as well as obstruction of the valve (stenosis) and dilation of the aorta with potential aortic rupture. If these do demonstrate progression, we typically recommend that you not participate, at minimum, in sports that have a high “static,” or isometric, activity level, such as weightlifting, football, or wrestling. That said, I also find it difficult to believe that you have had complete resolution of the disease and the abnormality of the valve; bicuspid aortic valve does not resolve. I will say that trivial aortic valve regurgitation can be considered a normal finding in the face of a completely normal aortic valve, although I do not know whether you had this, or not.
Therefore, my recommendation is that you be evaluated by a pediatric cardiologist, if you can still see one at the age of 18, who can fully evaluate your valve and discuss these options with you. The other option is to obtain a second opinion from an adult cardiologist. If your heart is completely normal, you should not have any limitations on your athletic participation.
Finally, kayaking is felt to have among the highest components of both aerobic and isometric (dynamic and static) exercise, so I can’t say to which of running or bicycling it is closer. It is almost immaterial here, though, as it seems more important to have exactly what is going on with your heart defined first before deciding on participation in various types of sports.
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