New member from Australia: Hi - my... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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New member from Australia


Hi - my heart history is an emergency 5 way bypass in Seattle USA in March 2006 followed by 4 stents back in Australia in November 2006 all at age 48. In August last year (2017) I had another 3 way bypass at age 59. I have strong family history and had a high stress career with elevated cholesterol. I've never smoked or drank and as an ex-RAAF officer kept fit. I have been told by my cardiologist and surgeon back in Oz that the 4 stents and second bypass op were caused by the endoscopic vein harvesting (EVH) technique used in Seattle. There was a major metadata study on this in 2009 if you are interested. I have been vegan/vegetarian since my first 5 way bypass, have run several half-marathons and a marathon, qualified as a fitness instructor, cycle instructor and bodybuilding coach. I also volunteer at cardiac rehab, producing education materials and giving lectures, and volunteer with our National Heart Foundation.

Having 8 bypass grafts and 4 stents in my chest is a bit daunting and I also suffer from dystonia and diverticulitis but when I'm deadlifting 90kg in the gym, or bushwalking with my wife, I forget all about it. Exercise provides me with the mental relief I need.

Cheers, Al

9 Replies

Welcome and wow! Likewise I follow a vegan diet but that’s the only similarity!! Your history is impressive if somewhat traumatic. Glad you’re back to being so fit. And nice to see international members as well. I am moaning about our heatwave at the moment but I suspect that’s the norm for your part of the world!! Welcome and take care. Zena

in reply to Zena166

LOL - yes, I've regularly worked in 48c and one of the half-marathons I ran after my first bypass it was 35c. Many thanks for the warm welcome. My wife and I are addicted to Escape to the Country, Continent etc - much more lush than our arid deserts and bush

Inspirational story. Hopefully you won't require any further major treatments as it sounds like you have had your fair share.

I am interested you have been vegan or vegetarian since your first bypass. Did this involve an Esselstyn approach ie plant based whole grain oil free diet? It is just that I am currently following this as it virtually promises that further cardiac events are unlikely, that is if you adhere 100%. As I am 43 I'm trying to avoid another event for as long as possible.

in reply to Andie1975

My diet wasn't oil free as I was told I needed good oils for the fat soluble vitamins. I used olive oil for cooking and as a dressing. I became very ill not long after my first surgery because I had cut all fats out of my diet. I work with a dietician because I have several chronic conditions with conflicting dietary requirements. Only a dietician can really advise on veganism, heart disease etc as its a complex issue. Good luck!

MichaelJHHeart Star

G'day and welcome Al! I am just recovering from an elective quadruple and hope I can reach your level of fitness - I am sure it takes longer to recover if you lose fitness in the run up to surgery. When I was diagnosed with CHD (again horrendous family history - all on male side) I read up on it. EHV was covered. I think techniques are improving the whole time, as with tissue valves, but there was a variation between medical centres. However, a colleague's father had a bypass forty years ago and is doing well in his nineties. And in those days you went home without a pharmacy in a carrier bag.

Cheers, Michael

in reply to MichaelJH

It's a long journey - took me 3 years until I was ready to run a half and another 2 years until I could do a full marathon. I had a highly qualified personal trainer, downloaded heart stats to my cardiologist etc - all supervised and very careful. Also, took 6.5 hours for the marathon, nothing fast. Everyone is different hence super important to be medically supervised. I was lucky in that I was fit as an ex-RAAF officer and just before I had the 5 way in Seattle had been running 100km per week training for the Seattle Marathon.


I was told not to lift or carry any heavy weights, yet you can lift 90kg? I have angina, cardiomyopathy, 2 leaking valves, slow heart rate. All 4 grandparents & both parents had heart various heart conditions.

All the best



We are all told, quite rightly, not to lift heavy weights. In my case though, I am symptom free, have no heart or valve damage, heart rate normal etc. I also have base fitness acquired over many years of exercise and as a fitness trainer understand correct technique. Finally, got all the correct clearances from doctor and cardiologist. Because I am still relatively young, travel for my business etc I need to be able to lift heavy luggage etc so better to train for that rather than one day simply pick up something heavy and injure myself. Good luck one your journey

in reply to Hidden

You are right. I will ask for assistance lifting my 18 - 20kg suitcase at check in at airport next time, as I'm only 149cm tall ....a little grey haired old lady, so it is usually easy for me to get help, especially if I wave my walking stick around! if I use weights more than 3kg in the gym it makes my arthritic joints hurt more. I can still.lift my 1 year old granddaughter, but find her 3 year old brother a bit too heavy now. Maybe I should practise lifting one on each arm before I fly next time ??? Good luck.

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