Can't regain any form of fitness - Anticoagulation UK

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Can't regain any form of fitness



I had an Aortic heart valve replacement surgery in July 2018 and have been on Warfarin ever since. I have my INR regularly checked and it's normally within 2-3 which is my target range, apart from one episode where it shot up to 14!! After a week in hospital and having excess fluid drained from around my heart and reducing my LFT from nearly 1000, my INR has always been within range.

18 months after my surgery though I still haven't regained any fitness, before the op i regularly played football and went running etc, now I struggle to go up a flight of stairs without getting out of breathless and feeling dizzy. I have tried to resume my sporting activities and build up my fitness but I really struggle and was wondering if it was the warfarin or if anyone else has had this problem.

Thanks for any feedback.

10 Replies

I think you should go back and see your Doctor

in reply to daisyd

I have done on several occasions. They don't seem to think its anything to worry about and I've had full blood tests, BP and heart rate is fine. The only issue is I still have fluid around my heart and apart from getting it drained last year, my cardiologist, surgeon and GP have all said it's normal and shouldn't be causing me any problems.

I haven’t had this operation, but definitely much less short of breath on Warfarin, sorry I can’t be of more Help

Hi I had the same operation in Aug 2013 and had no issues returning to the same (if not better) levels of fitness. I took my recovery very slowly with just walking until Nov 13 and then started to ride the static bicycle trainer. I did my first ride on the road in Dec 13 and used the winter to regain some fitness whilst keeping my HR low. In Feb and March 2014 I did 1 week cycle training camps in Majorca and by the March camp I was back to the same levels I had pre-op. I am also running but only around 3-4 miles max. I am taking warfarin and ramipril. There is a Strava group for people who have BAV and I am also a member of Ironheart Connect on Facebook. Both of these groups have plenty of BAV athletes performing exceptionally well. Can you provide any evidence to the professionals where you are not improving? Bit difficult with football (I was told to give up contact sport when I started taking warfarin) but perhaps for the running you have past statistics that demonstrate significant differences pre and post op. I also agree with Daisyd that you should continue to push for further examination as you should be expected to return to full sporting activities even with your new valve. Good Luck.

in reply to trevorb

Thanks for the reply.

I personally think I rushed my recovery, not so much the physical aspect of it but I returned to work (Actually started a new job) a little too soon and my wife gave birth to our son only 3 1/2 months after so I've had lots of sleepless nights. In terms of physical exercise, I could easily run 10k without struggling too much, currently i think i'd struggle to jog 200m without been seriously out of breath. I have put a little bit of weight on but I'm blaming that on having a new born child haha!!

I do think I underestimated quite how big the surgery would be, I was only 27 and it all came about very quickly so I tried to take it in my stride and perhaps I've not done myself any favours.

My valve is supposedly working perfectly so it could be another underlying issue, maybe with a new born child I've just been run down for the past 18 months and my body hasn't had the chance to fully recover. I think I will push to see my cardiologist even to just clarify my heart is fine and i can then focus my attention on finding the root cause.

Hi there, I’m really sorry to hear you haven’t regained any sort of fitness.

I would say this is down to the condition rather than the warfarin. I didn’t have an op like you but have a clotting problem with my blood. I can take the warfarin easily and it doesn’t affect my fitness.

I think you should return to your doctor, maybe you need to have some sort of rehabilitation or an exercise program where you are reintroduced to exercise slowly.

Good luck!

Hi jonno

A lot of stress in a short amount of time, operation, new job, new baby. If everything comes back ok maybe an area to consider. Could be stress/anxiety, always makes my breathing bad at rest and exercise. Hope you get it sorted.

I had an aortic valve replacement in 2008 at 58. I had been reasonably active immediately prior to the op. mainly doing circuit training, but found i couldn't keep up with the 20/30 year olds and was getting breathless, but put that down to my age.

A couple of months post surgery I was offered cardiac classes at the hospital . I attended what was circuit training for about three months and found that I was almost back to my previous performance. For the next year I went regularly to the gym and did weights, cardio and swimming without any issues.

I am still on warfarin and have found that i have slowed down somewhat but this time I am putting it down to age.

I think you need to go back to your GP and see if you can;t get a ECG with a stress test. That should help them to understand what is going on.

Hi Jonno, I had the same operation in 1998 and after the usual 3/6 months recuperation I started a gym and I became fitter than I had ever been. I felt very lucky. My advice would be to keep seeing your Doctor until you get some answers if you are still finding it difficult to exercise. I also obtained my own coagucheck machine which I have found invaluable.Hope you improve.

Not in the same boat so can't offer anything helpful - but Good Luck!! :)

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