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Cardio Rehabilitation after PCI Stenting

Cardio Rehabilitation after PCI Stenting

I was a very fit former runner and mountain biker when I suffered a mild heart attack last January whilst out in very cold conditions on my mountain bike. I was eventually diagnosed has having a blockage in my left coronary artery and narrowing on the right side.

Due to various side affects i.e. Atorvastatin messing my liver function I had to wait until October before having a PCI under Dr. Nick Palmer at Liverpool Chest & Heart Hospital and the procedure went well and Dr Palmer told me to "take easy for a couple of weeks and gradually get back to what I's been doing previously".

Enter the Cardio Rehab Team at my local hospital in Wales! I went for a rehab assessment and was totally undermined by the Nurse and Pharmacist present. Throughout the eight months prior to the PCI I had been cycling (rides of up to 2hrs on the flat) and swimming (up to 800m), but keeping my heart rate under 130bpm avoiding Angina symptoms. This assessment had me walking up and down between cones in a Sports Hall grandly called a "Human Performance Laboratory with two people alongside who admitted they never take exercise. They then tried to tell me I needed to keep my exercise under 120bpm and the Pharmacist wanted to put me on a beta blocker which she said would lower my heart rate(I already have a resting heart rate of 50bpm), give me fatigue and make me impotent - she was not a very good saleswoman for the drug!

I have overcome this very disheartening experience (no pun intended) by turning to my local fitness Club where the Manager is trained to Cardio Rehab Level 4. She has worked out a program to restore my fitness and they have exercise equipment which monitors the body under exercise including average and a maximum heart rate read outs. The program will be reviewed regularly.

Surely any Cardio Rehab Team should have empathy with individuals who are used to exercising and listening sensibly to their bodies not blindly following guidelines set at the lowest level for unfit people who are over-weight, smoke and not used to exercising. They need training properly me thinks.

4 Replies

Hi Mike,

It's great news that you are getting back to fitness again. I think sometimes there is a tendency in the NHS not to treat people as individuals, maybe it's something to do with being target driven these days.

Great that you have links with a good fitness club though, I think the more knowledge you gain about your individual health needs the more you stick out for what you want and go out and find it.


Hi Mike,

I am currently undergoing the heart rehab program, I am not fat, unfit, I did smoke though. The walking you describe is, I think to asses your fitness level,

you presumably passed with flying colours! well done !!

If you had continued with the program , the excercises are related to the level of fitness of the individual, to be as easy or difficult as you can do.

I also take the tablets you have been prescribed, my husband tells me they are wrong to say they will make you 'impotant' he thinks I am a very 'impotant person'.

Best wishes for your future recovery.


Dear Mike, the following is addressed to you personally, but is also written for the wider community. So:

What a lousy situation you find yourself in.

Call me presumptuous, but I’ll bet you’ve done all the right things all your life: followed the recommended healthy diet, weight under control, exercised and avoided the dangerous habits of the great unwashed.

Then bang! Where the hell did that come from!

You look around you at the obese, the smoker, the boozer and the couch potato. You look in despair at the ‘puppy fat’ kids coming out of school with a mobile phone in one hand and a can of coke in the other and pity them for their lack of self control.

It’s just not fair is it? Well I agree, it isn’t!

So, you’ve had a heart attack, been through the mill and feel let down by the whole experience.

I’d feel like that too!

But hang on - what if there was another way? What if just by making simple changes to you diet you could get back the life you feel you’ve lost?

Worth thinking about?

Well, what if we’ve all been told for the last 40 years has been a load of hogwash, and what we have been taught has been driving the obesity/diabetes and killing us by jumbo jet loads every week?

Here’s a paragraph taken directly from the WHO website:

CVDs are the number one cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause.

An estimated 17.3 million people died from CVDs in 2008, representing 30% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.3 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.2 million were due to stroke.

Low- and middle-income countries are disproportionally affected: over 80% of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries and occur almost equally in men and women.

By 2030, almost 23.6 million people will die from CVDs, mainly from heart disease and stroke. These are projected to remain the single leading causes of death.

17.3 million in 2008 projected to rise to 23.6 million in 2030 and you think progress is being made?

Happy with the drugs you may be taking? Lets look at just two that people were trusting:

Cerivastatin (rhabdomyalosis) withdrawn 2001.

Avandia (heart disease - $3 billion set aside to settle court cases Nov 2011).

You might then take a look at this Wikipedia entry:

Completely trust the medical community? Feel confident about about researchers and reputable journals? look up Diederik Stapel, Andrew Wakefield or Hwang Woo-suk to name a few. Like quality journalism?

My approach is to look at all the evidence, for and against, then base my choices on the broad picture of the balance of probability. Adopting the KISS principle often is the best way, as there are so many conflicting opinions and interests out there you could vanish in a puff of frustration whilst trying to make sense of the minutiae.

Well Mike, advice is the ‘cheapest thing you can give to anybody' and mine is no different. So do your own research and make your own mind up. Here are some suggestions:

An easy to read book - Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s ‘The Great Cholesterol Con’

Get Tom Naughton’s DVD ‘Fat Head’ Go to the bonus tracks and watch Dr. Al Sears as he discusses how he treats his patients with advanced heart disease. It is particularly relevant to someone in your position and I guarantee you it will make you think very, very deeply!

If you look around at this site at the rest of my postings etc my position would perhaps be seen as Daniel in the Lions Den. You may come to the conclusion that I am a heretic preaching lunacy. You may be right - but what if I, and millions like me, are not?

My very best to you,

Mike Pollard.


Thanks for the comments guys, in particular Mike Pollard's very copious observations and references. I've deliberately avoided becoming bitter about other people who might smoke, be over weight or not exercise. To me there is no mileage in that, its up to them how they run there lives and I hope they never suffer a heart attack or stroke.

I'm concentrating on and trusting myself to get fit again. I know my body and am used to listening to it after 22 years as a runner plus six as a mountain biker and road cyclist. I'm working with my coach at my local gym and going through the motions with the local Rehab Team and keeping my own council because of their one size fits all attitude and limited knowledge of exercise regimes - their program is only for seven weeks anyway. I'm sure their motives are honourable, but limited by budget restraints and lack of proper exercise training by their employers


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