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Dave1960, May 21,  2020  12:27pm EST

Endurance Exercise with AFIB

I'm a 59yo male who had an ischemic stroke March 4, 2020, with no warning signs or apparent risk factors.  Overall very minor impacts from the stroke.  I'm a distance runner, and was less than three weeks from my 20th marathon.  Anyway, after all the tests, i was diagnosed with A-Fib.  I'm back to running and lifting, but can't find any information on how aggressive I can be in exercise.  Also, my EP wants to do an ablation as soon as they get through the backlog of more serious heart procedures.  Currently on Eliquis and atorvastatin (chloresterol is not high at all, 202 non-fasting total day of stroke, 136 ldl).   Just looking for experiences from others who are active endurance athletes.  Thanks!

2 Replies
  • JohnMiosh
    JohnMiosh, May 22,  2020  9:19am EST

    You say  "with no risk factors" but being 59 and running 20 marathons is a risk factor in itself.  Try to get hold of a copy of Zinn and M androla's "Haywire Heart" to explain why.

    I am a long term cyclist, with a lot of running and swimming in my past.  I developed AF through a lifetime of endurance exercise, which I spotted through odd HR readings.  I am now just about back to normal four years after diagnosis and a couple of procedures. 

    When I was first diagnosed I was given beta blockers which destroyed my fitness even more than the AF had, but at least it stopped me experiencing the ridiculously high heart rates of up to 250 BPM.  After cardioversion, I was told I could get back to normal immediately, but sinus rhythm only lasted two weeks.  After ablation I was also told I could get back to normal, but I increased steadily and now keep to a Max HR 0f 160 (as opposed to 175 Pre AF)  I am no longer racing and have slowed down by about an average of 1mph.  I see this as being a very good outcome compared to what I originally expected.

    A much longer history of my illness can be seen here.


    Happy to answer any questions you may have.



  • Walt61
    Walt61, December 3,  2020  1:07pm EST
    cholesterol vs chd-2.jpg.

    Welcome.  Oddly enough endurance athletes are at a higher risk of getting afib than the rest of the population.  From your cholesterol numbers 202 and 136, both are considered Borderline High, I can see why your doctor placed you on atorvastatin. Keep in mind that 35% of folks suffering from coronary heart disease (CHD) have cholesterol levels below 200 (see image attached).

    Edit: I didn't realize this is post was 7 months old.  How are you currently doing?  It would benefit us to have an update.

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