Returning to riding after heart angioplasty and stent

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by MotorcycleWriter, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    I got hit with a big surprise last week. Angina! Turns out my lateral anterior descending artery was 99% plugged. Climbing stairs, or anything besides, well, nothing brought on crushing chest pain. I’m 52 and in great shape but my cholesterol is high. So, they did angioplasty and put in a stent. No heart damage and the doc said the muscle is in great shape. Other than a sore wrist I feel amazing. Better than I have in quite a while, so it is something that I’d just gotten used to.

    But, when can I return to riding? I’m not on any blood thinners but I am on a platelet inhibitor (prasugrel) for a year and a doctor friend said to drain the tank on my woods bike and park it for a year. Too dangerous risk of internal bleeding from single tracking.

    I’m supposed to let the wrist heal for 3 days to 6 months depending on who you talk to. I also have a street bike and a dual sport and they are my main transportation. In fact, I left my SUV in Utah and flew home for the procedure, so I don’t even have a car! My wife does, but it’s going to be a pain.

    Any experts or experience out there with informed advice?
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  2. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    Glad you are ok!

    I would take it easy for a couple weeks. See how you feel, but don't push it. I bet your going to be on some meds now. Watch for side effects.
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  3. longslowdistance

    longslowdistance Long timer

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    How long will you be on anticoagulants? They are necessary, at least for a while, to keep your new stent from clotting shut. Hopefully not forever, but discuss with your doc. Anticoagulants increase the risk of serious bleeding, including potentially catastrophic bleeding inside the skull after a crash.
    Moto riding always includes managing risks. It's your call, but do get as much info as you can.
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  4. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    I was grounded for two weeks. Told they'd pull my license unless I agreed not to drive, I'll concede that I didn't push that.

    After that it was game ON. You've just had a heart attack at 52, the clock is ticking so you can ride and die or just die. Your call.
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  5. Navy Chief

    Navy Chief Long timer

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    Went through something similar in 2010, talk to your doc about what the risks actually are with the medications you are on. I was riding again after a month but that delay was mostly due to other issues.
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  6. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    One year. This is exactly what my riding buddy, who is a physician, told me. Subdural bleeding in the brain. I don't care for the sound of that so will reluctantly stable the woods bike or maybe sell it. It's getting a little old and when/if I hit the trails again, I might get something newer and fuel injected.

    I didn't have a heart attack. Much different risk pool than when arrying about dead heart muscle. But like a childless 35 year old woman, I'm hearing every tick of that clock. I'm going to ride, I'm just going to limit my riding. I agree I should probably stay off the difficult single track. But my primary transportation is a motorcycle. I don't even have a car for the next few weeks as mine is 1,600 miles away. My primary concern with riding my street bike is my wrist. It's got to heal from where they shoved that catheter into my radial artery!
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  7. Mouse

    Mouse I'm only smelly

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    Wrist takes bugger all to heal and even if it doesn't you're not going to bleed out rapidly there.

    What inr are you on? Assume you're on warfarin, it's easy enough to counteract afaik, a shot of vitamin k iirc.

    I spent two years on warfarin, inr ~ 2-3, rode dirt fairly hard the whole time, was fencing, swinging chainsaws all day long etc. Didn't really affect me, didn't bruise much.

    Now if you'd had a stroke and were on an inr of 6-7 I'd agree, yep don't ride.

    Sorry, knew jack about stents, that's not my heart issue.

    My experience...
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  8. Hi-De-Ho

    Hi-De-Ho Mad Scientist

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    In my opinion, you should ride the street bike, when YOU feel up to it. You should avoid riding the "woods" bike, and any single track riding. And maybe stay off the dual-sport bike, unless it is easy riding, and you just want to get that bike out there and exercise it.

    Go ride.....enjoy life....do NOT sit around and wonder about the "what if's".

    Yes, you have listened to what all the doctors have said, but ultimately YOU are the one that can best diagnose your situational awareness of whether you should ride...or not ride.

    From both a rider perspective, and a medical perspective, I say...go ride !

    I am dealing with my own physical issues...diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) back in November 2014. It took a couple years for me to have solid evidence that it was affecting my legs, and now arms, but rather than sit home, sell all my motorcycles, and cry in my own self-pity, I have decided to turn this lemon into lemonade. Bought 3 brand new bikes last year, 2 for me and one for my wife, as she also rides. Rode around Moab, Utah this Spring to force my brain to connect to my hands and feet with the fine manipulation needed to ride a Honda CRF250-RALLY on the trails surrounding Moab. Then in late Spring, early Summer took a ride on my '17 V-Strom 650XT up to Inuvik, in the Northwest Territories, and "almost" made it to Tuktoyaktuk.....(damn mud)

    Now, we are converting several of our bikes over to sidecar rigs, so I can continue to ride for as long as possible, even going to the extent of looking at buying a bike with the Honda DCT trans, so I have less shifting to do.

    Bottom line...it is YOUR life, and each one of us have to weigh the content and value of their individual life....family, friends, etc, and decide.....do you want to walk around the house for the next year, in hopes that all will be well, and you will be given the green light by those doctors overseeing you, or....do you want to go riding, even for short, street rides, and feel the liberation that we all know exists when riding our bikes....and not feel that you have missed a chapter...or a year...in what could be the best medicine available...and that is riding .

    :ricky
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  9. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    I'm a baby aspirin for life and 10mg Effient (Prasugrel) platelet inhibitor for a year. I'm not usually a bruiser or bleeder. I'll monitor how that changes with dinging knuckles and knocked shins. Flush out time after taking is 7 days.

    I'm like you: not hyperactive but hyper active.


    I love your attitude Hi-De-Ho. I don't know if you're actually a mad scientist, but if a mad scientist is someone who thinks up and builds super weapons then I'm a mad scientist too. Sucks about your ALS, but hell, my mom got Leukemia when I was about 13. She lived until I was 25. My girlfriend's mom (long ago when I was 19) dropped dead from a heart attack one day. Never had any symptoms that we knew about. Taught me that when you get diagnosed with a disease and are given a tentative expiration date, lots of folks walking about clueless will hit their sell-by date long before you!

    I feel incredible. I feel better than I have, looking back on things, in a few years. More energy since I woke up from the procedure. It's been like drinking a Redbull every four hours. Honestly, I could have ridden home from the hospital. I haven't had any of the wrist issues I was warned about, but have refrained from using it in anything but a supporting role as I was told. Just slightly tender. I just don't know these stents. Do I have to baby it for a month for it to "set"? Does it like the blood pumping? They didn't tell me squat other than, "Take it easy for a few days and make sure you take these pills or you'll die." I have a follow up in 6-weeks (6 weeks??!!) where I guess I'll learn all that, but man, I don't have that kind of time to kill.

    One thing I have learned from this incident though is that I need to stop farting around and letting other people control my life. By that, I mean the obligations I put on myself that turn into people exploiting me. It's not really their fault, I've got an over active responsibility gene that I have to get under control. I've been wanting to move away from this humidity hell-hole I live in to the mountain west where I enjoy being, but I'm trying to accommodate a bunch of hangers-on who are either younger than me or don't work as hard as me, or both! I got to get off my ass and go do what I need to do and let the chips fall where they may.

    Nothing here is guaranteed. Money problems are temporary. You can't get back even one second of wasted time... much less 27 years.
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  10. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    Reminds me of a chat I had a while back with Reg Kittrelle. In the context of aging, he talks about "taking control of your destiny'. It's a cliched phrase, yet it takes on fresh power when it's you staring down the barrel of your mortality. I admire your clarity.
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  11. CSI

    CSI Long timer

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    Every person is different..........I have a friend who had a heart attack while on a m/c vacation with his wife. He ended up getting five stints put it, as well as undergoing an angioplasty.

    The doctor was aware that he was on a bike.......knowing he intended to ride back home, they made him stay in the hospital for 48 hrs. Had it not been for being on the bike, he would have been released the morning following the heart attack and subsequent treatment.

    Biggest issue he has been having aside from tiring easily, was that they went in thru his right wrist to place the stints......his wrist was sore for a week or so.

    FWIW.....he is 45 yrs old, and this is his second one. After the 1st heart attack, he pretty much gave up drinking. As a result of this one, he has given up cigarettes.
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  12. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    Drinking is actually beneficial for coronary artery disease. Not like, getting black-out, but a bit of alcohol helps dissolve the plaques.
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  13. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Scottsdale

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    Sounds like you have pretty good advice from people who have experienced the same heart problem. I think they are saying you will ride whatever type of riding you want again. But you should take your time getting there to make sure your body is recovered and up to it. Your heart doc will guide you but you will probably know yourself.

    When I was 32 I suffered from ventricular tachycardia. It is a dangerous malfunction of my left ventricular. Once we stabilized my heart with drugs, I asked if I could continue to race my YZ. He said that if I had a small episode that I would likely pass out instantly if I was exerting myself. Then he asked how that might work out on the track aboard my YZ... I sold my gear and gave up motorcycles. I am 69 today and ride regularly. But only because I discovered I could feel an episode coming on and even control it. That was 20 years ago. And every year my episodes get fewer and milder so that today it is almost gone. No pacemakers, open heart surgery or any of the radical procedures recommended to me by various cardiologists. There is a lesson in that too... I don’t event take any meds! Anyway congrats for getting on top of this thing.
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  14. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    Congratulations on getting through it! And it's great to hear there's no lasting damage. I have a friend who got back into flying after something similar, and he reported the same things, including that bit about 'gosh, I sure have a lot more energy now!' Three thoughts

    1) Whatever you do, you're going to lose some of the summer, and maybe the fall.

    2) If you push too hard, you could lose a bit more.

    3) Waiting sucks. And waiting for a year sucks for a year.

    How sympathetic is your doctor? Can you work out an 'I want to get back into it by gradual steps, what should I do and what should we watch out for' plan? Is there some sports medicine doctor or some other MD focused on rehab around to give you advice, a second opinion, ior a rehab plan?

    I agree with all the folk who say go ride as soon as you can. But don't be in a huge hurry to hit the trails or the track until you're sure things are solid. Good luck!
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  15. telejojo

    telejojo Been here awhile

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    I've had bypass and valve replacement. Keep riding.............................................
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  16. Navy Chief

    Navy Chief Long timer

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    I'm not a doctor but I will share my experience with stents and recovery.

    I had a heart attack at age 38 (scary shit, I was in the best shape of my life having just completed an ultramarathon 2 months prior), 100% blocked right coronary artery. Required the placement of two stents. I was hospitalized for 2 days and told to take it easy for a week to allow the artery they used to place the stents to heal (they went through my femoral artery so the chances of bleeding out if I tore it open were real). After that I was in cardiac rehab where their job was to get my heart rate elevated, not running but walking and riding exercise bikes. Also you don't have to wait for the 6 weeks for your follow up to get information, be proactive in this and call the doctors office to ask questions, they will either answer them directly or schedule an appointment sooner to clear up your questions.
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  17. EnduroRdr

    EnduroRdr Woods Racer & D/S Rider

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    Damn I need a check up!

    I’m m winded after 2 flights of stairs.

    Subscribed: glad I found a thread were riders discuss this.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  18. yobuddy

    yobuddy Been here awhile

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    I had heart valve replacement 26 years ago. Been on blood thinners all 26 years. I have limited my dirt biking to more simple stuff, low risk jeep trails and such. Street riding I have slowed down a bit and use a bit more caution. I just can't give it up, been riding street/dirt for over 46 years. I have crashed in both the dirt(2) and street(1) since. I Have not had any bleeding issues with my get offs.
    Obviously it's your choice, do what you think is right.
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  19. n3nman

    n3nman Adventurer

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    Strong family history of heart disease. At age 50 asked for a stress test to check things out. Came out good (though my cholesterol was always high from genetics). Had a full blown heart attack (LAD, widow maker) at 51. Never really new it. Felt sick for a couple days then better, but not quite right. Went to the doc 2 weeks later. They called a ambulance for me. Lost 30% of heart function. And had a large blood clot in my heart. Had to wait 3 months for Bypass so clot could absorb. They put me on Warfin and I stopped riding for the time I was on that rat poison (really that is what rat poison is). Had 5 bypasses (they were running a special by 4 get 1 free) a few months later. Ride every chance I get.

    One very important test I found out about that not many doctors talk about is a " High sensitivity c-reactive protien test" . They can do it with a normal blood draw (like for cholesterol check). Measures the amount of low level inflammation in the body. Mine was sky high prior to all this (I think normal was .1-.3 mine was .85) now .09. That inflammation cause plaque to break off and can cause a sudden blockage and heart attack.

    Now I do not eat anything with a face as they say. In the gym 2 hours a day 7 days a week and got rid of my high stress job. Stents and bypasses take care of the immediate acute problem but if you do not change your lifestyle then the problems will come back in short order. IMHO

    Food for thought:
    Coronary stents do not improve the long-term survival rates of heart patients but they "do provide a significant early and sustained reduction in the need for subsequent procedures to re-open the treated artery," according to a report presented by Duke cardiologist David Kandzari at the American Heart Association.

    Take care of yourself and do the things that matter to you.
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  20. pointerDixie214

    pointerDixie214 Been here awhile

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    Listen to your body. You know it better than anyone else. Motorcycling is all about calculating risk. So run the numbers and decide from there. :)
    #20