I'm New here following a Stent op thr... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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I'm New here following a Stent op three weeks ago


I am currently living in the south of France and had my stent implanted three weeks ago here. I am mainly a little concerned about two things; 1. is it normal to be frightened to do anything for fear of an attack or over doing it?

2. Is it normal to be having sharp pains in my chest every now and then? , nothing too painful just very short, sharp pains.

Is there a recommended recovery fitness plan I could get hold of?

Many thanks


13 Replies


In answer to each of your points :-

1. I think its "normal" to be a little afraid as its a bit of a shock to find that you need surgical intervention, but mercifully the fear is most often unfounded. I also have stents but having being diagnosed and treated we are surely in a better place than before! That said, there is a period of 'settling in' or healing that you should recognise.

In the UK I think most people (but perhaps though only after a heart attack and stents) are offered a course of 'cardiac rehabilitation'. This is conducted at or under the direction of the hospital and involves a number of weeks supervised physical exercise. This both increases fitness but importantly restores your confidence in what your body is capable of. After this period there are a number of centres in UK where the rehab is continued at local gyms etc. by suitably qualified instructors. Maybe you could enquire in France if similar services are available?

2. I did not have any post stent symptoms but have read on here of some do - the consensus seems to be that these low level pains are normal as your body recovers from the invasive procedure but they will pass. My suggestion would be to speak to your doctor and get a direct confirmation that what you are experiencing is "normal"

Happy to exchange details of my own fitness plan if you want to message me but I started within the comfort of the formal cardiac rehabilitation program - I am doing the London to Brighton cycle ride for the BHF in a couple of weeks so rehab certainly works!

Many thanks Nathan.

NoerLuton in reply to NathanBlau


I too would welcome your fitness plan. I’m in Bahrain and basically the hospital doesn’t have any follow up unless it’s with the cardiologist for meds etc

NathanBlau in reply to NoerLuton


I don’t have a “plan” as such - the rehab at the hospital was based on an initial evaluation of my fitness at the time. This is of course influenced by your physical ability before the heart issue and the extent of damage you have incurred eg it’s a very personal regime and not a one size fits all.

The formal cardiac rehab exercise regime, then and now, is based on circuits of maybe 7 to 10 stations where you perform different aerobic exercises for anything between 1.5 to 3 minutes and then move on to the next station. Initially my heart rate and occasionally blood pressure was taken to ensure that you worked in a comfortable training range. After some time you just learn to work at your own rate I.e. all do the same exercises but with different levels of exertion.

I have supplemented this with a lot of cycling and swimming - again not to a predefined program that I could just pass on but at a level that provides me with a challenge but does not cause physical distress e.g as I have read many times on here, you listen to your body!

Sorry I can’t be more specific as we are simply too diverse in terms of size, weight age, ability and of course our hearts! Please do message me if you have specific questions.

All the best

NoerLuton in reply to NathanBlau

Thank you very much for the info. I shall try find a personal trainer that might know of this type of rehab . Thanks again

NathanBlau in reply to NoerLuton

I think that’s a great way forward - you understand that I am just a patient and not an expert and would hate to give you advice that was counter productive or even dangerous.

Do let me know how you get on

NoerLuton in reply to NathanBlau

Thank you and all the best

Answer 1: Yes. Very common. You would be a little unusual if you had no concerns at all, but equally, you cannot become a couch potato as that is equally bad for you.

Answer 2: some odd pains are to be expected and it’s likely you will be particularly aware of them because of your heightened sense of anxiety. Usually it’s just things settling down but if it continues to worry you, go and see your medical professional. As for exercise, in the uk you would have been offered cardiac rehab sessions, but I’ve no idea about the French system. General advice is start with walking and some strength exercises, and build up slowly. If you read a number of posts on here from other aren’t patients you will soon see that most arevery active.

I’m asking the same thing with the sharp pains and had many heart ops including stents.

Hi Astro I had s stent fitted Thursday didn't really want to go due to covid but took sensible precautions and to be honest I had to go due to pains getting worse each day. I've had a walk each day and yes I keep stopping at intervals and worrying a bit bit all good so far and have walked past the point where I used to get the pains start kinda weird now not getting them bloody brilliant though lol. Think today I may have started to feel just the faintest of settling minor pains but nothing I'd consider a worry.

Every thing you have described is exactly what I felt after my Stent was fitted in January 2019, And the worries and fears you have is quite normal, take each day one at a time , go for small walks or a task not to strenuous and build up from there.

Hope you stay safe and get on the road to full recovery soon, even if it takes a little more time .

Regards Carpbait

Hi Astroandrew

In response to your first thought, I'm having the same feeling, had a HA and two stents three weeks ago and am fearful as well, your not alone on that.

I'm waiting on cardio rehab from local services in blighty however could be a longish wait for me. I've been having some slight pains as well and using GTN spray to ease it but the ache comes and goes after period of rest.

This is the first time replying to a post by another survivor so if it doesn't hold anything useful really sorry. Just know you may helped answer a question I was afraid to ask.

All the best to you

I had an unexpected heart attack plus stent 6 months ago. It was such a shock. I still feel vulnerable but I increasingly accept that to feel like this is NORMAL. In Cornwall we are automatically given 6 counselling sessions to talk about our fears and anxieties, and also identify strategies to help with the depression which can follow ‘heart procedures’.

You write that you had a stent three weeks ago. This is not very long at all. I remember that if I did too much at that stage I was besieged by what I can only describe as ‘waves of yuckiness’ which I found quite frightening. I would panic inwardly at every little ache and twinge. Please be gentle with yourself. The body takes time to heal - and it also has to adjust to a number of tablets which might have side effects.

Re: exercise - unfortunately I missed the 6 sessions of group cardio gym work because of corona/lockdown. A friend who went to them after his heart surgery (as well as everyone on this site who mentions them) reported how much confidence these sessions gave him .. as well as faith in his heart - that it is actually quite a robust muscle!

On the bhf ( British heart foundation) site on the internet there are exercise programmes called ‘cardio rehab at home’ made specifically for the ‘hearties’ who can’t physically attend them at the moment. My heart nurse suggested I begin at level 1 and do this two days a week ... GRADUALLY working up the levels. For 4 days I had to walk. Apparently walking is excellent. Only 5 minutes a day to begin with ... until over a few months I was doing 30 mins of brisk (cardio) walking each time. It is very important to do a warm up before and a warm down afterwards (I think this is to avoid developing arrhythmia or angina).

I believe ‘gradual’ is the key. There is no prize to be had pushing yourself to reach level 5 in the exercises or walk x miles at full pace only a couple of months after you have had a stent fitted. I decided I ‘ought’ to make myself walk up steep hills. I still don’t know why. This might have been ok if I had been an action woman but my main pastimes before my HA were writing and painting so I soon strained my calf muscles which really taught me a sharp lesson.

Today I found myself walking steadily up and down these Cornish hills for 2.5 hours (my friend and I took a wrong turn!) with no problem at all. The heart nurse discharged me the last time she rang. Yay!!!

In 5 months time, Astroandrew, your planets will have changed position and you will be looking at things with a different perspective too!

I wish you well.

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