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Old 05-23-11, 02:52 PM   #1
buddy
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Heart Attack on a group Ride

For whatever reason I have not ridden much this year. Every morning I have been going to the gym for cardo and some weight lifting. I was in overall good shape but I was overweight.
About two weeks ago I had a real urge to get back on my bike. I tried to arrange a ride with my nephew who was in town but it did not work out. Later that day I got an email from the local bike club of an afternoon ride. I deceived to leave work early and go riding. Since I have not rode in about a month I wanted to take it easy.

I got to the park a little early. It felt great just getting ready to ride. Put air in tires, check the lube on my chain, and talk to old friends as they were arriving. My heart rate mentor would not work, throw it back in the car must be the batteries.

A couple of friends ask me if I wanted to go for a short warm up ride before everyone got there. We did and everything felt great. My bike was performing well and I felt good. Maybe it was not going to be so bad getting back in bike shape after all.

We got back with the group and started the ride. I was riding next to an old friend and we were talking and catching up. Everything felt great. I was really glad to be back on a bike.
We warmed up for about 20 minutes riding between 13 and 15 mph. On a long straight away we kicked it up a little bit to about 18 mps no big deal. I found myself getting dropped and not able to keep up. I tried to kick up and catch up with the group and my chest started hurting. At first I thought that I was having some kind of cramps maybe my handlebars are too small causing me to cramp.

Maybe I should turn around and go back to my car. No that would not be fair to the group if I just disappeared. Okay they will be regrouping at another park make it there and tell then you are turning back. I have never felt pain like this before, what the hell is going on. Am I coming down with the flu? My left elbow is beginning to hurt...That is not good. Turn around go back to your car. I don't think I can make it back. This is just a muscle cramp it will go away. Being in the gym dose not compared to being on a bike. Only a half a mile to that park. Why can't I go faster than 10 mph?

You might be having a heart attack. No way. My blood pressure good 120 over 70. Yea what about last week when you took your blood pressure and it was 170 over 90. A lot of stress that day.

You need to tell someone. I don't want to ruin the ride for everyone else. Tell Lou he's a doctor. Yea a pediatrician and retired. But he will know what to do. I hope he does not freak out and call 911. I'll tell him and I will ride back to my car and go to the emergency room. Yea good plan.

I made it to the park.

Good everyone is here. Hey I am not even last. Maybe you were just pushing it too hard. Why not join with the slower riders and take it easy. My chest it really hurts. Where is Lou.

"Lou something is wrong"
"What is the matter?"
"My chest hurts and my left elbow"
"Okay let just sit here and see if the pain goes away"
"No I'll go back to my car don't want to mess up your ride"
"No let's just sit here and see what happens, how do you feel are you sweating?"
"Lou I been riding my bike yes I am sweating"
"Are you nausea?"
"No"
"Buddy why don't you quit stretching and sit down"
"I think it just mussels cramps. Lou I think I am going to throw up."
"Buddy do you know what going on?"
"I think so"
"We need to call 911"
"Yea"
Within seconds a fire truck was there giving me oxygen and an ambulance was with me within minutes.

I made it to the emergence room. EMS had sent my EKG to the hospital. My wife was waiting for me.

I was told that my original EKG that EMS did showed that I had a heart attack but now my EKG was normal. A doctor came in and told me that I needed a heart catheterization and that I probably had a blockage and that I was going to need either a heart bypass or a stent. Within an hour of getting to the hospital they were doing the cath to me. I was in a half drugged state and I was told and shown that I had a blockage and I needed a stent.
I had a 95% blockage in my LAD.

By the time I was in the recovery room I was feeling great asking the doctor when can I ride my bike again? “Six month minimum.”

I stayed 2 nights in the hospital and last Monday I had my first appointment with my cardiologist. Good news is my EKG was perfect, and my tread mill was good. The first words out of my cardiologist months was, “I want to get you back on your bike it is important that you start exercising. Do you have a heart rate mentor?” Yes “You can start riding but keep your heart rate under 130 bpm”.

Tuesday one week after my cardo event I went on the same ride and did about 10 miles felt great, Thursday I did about 12 miles and Saturday I rode 25 miles.
The doctor told me that getting to the hospital as fast as I did minimized the amount of damage to my heart. He also told me that being on my bike and being with Lou probably saved my life.

It is hard for me to believe that I had a heart attack but I do feel that because I was in good shape it was not as bad as it could have been. I have become very serious about my diet. Sugar is out, saturated fat is out, salt is out and simple carbs are out. Veggies and lean meat are in.
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Old 05-23-11, 03:05 PM   #2
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Lucky

I wasn't riding when I had mine but sat in a traffic jam doing nothing for an hour. Mine started as indigestion that got worse. I was sweating profusely and felt sick. Tell tale sign was that I took on a Khaki colour in my face---It had no colour except for my tan. Phoned for an ambulance and spent 4 days in ER under and out with drugs. I had a triple 3 months later and 3 months later did a 40 miler.

It does not matter how fit you feel or are. Heart attacks can hit you anytime. I was fit and in training for a hard ride and probaly at my fittest for years. Sunday before I had mine and I slaughtered my riding partner on a 65 mile offroad.

And please do not get complacent-- 2 years later and my riding partner had a heart attack on a ride and died. I was lucky-My mate wasn't.
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Old 05-23-11, 03:10 PM   #3
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Very, very lucky! "It is hard for me to believe that I had a heart attack..." I hope there's not a next time, but it is better to be safe than sorry. I also trust that with all the things that are "out", listening to common sense is in.
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Old 05-23-11, 03:19 PM   #4
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Sorry it happened to you, and congratulations that you are as okay as you are. Wow.
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Old 05-23-11, 03:43 PM   #5
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Glad to read that you're still with us.
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Old 05-23-11, 04:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for that account Buddy. It's a reminder the we need to pay close attention to out bodies.

I came across a man on the local MUP a week ago who was lying just off to the side with a bleeding face. A couple had reached him just a few seconds before me. He had no memory of falling off the bike and had no explanation. I stood by for 15 minutes or so to make sure he was in fact back up on his feet. The couple offered to drive him back to his vehicle but he insisted on continuing. Eventually I rode on and I was left with the hope all worked out well for him. We are no longer young. Pay attention.
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Old 05-23-11, 04:25 PM   #7
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You have some great friends.
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Old 05-23-11, 04:28 PM   #8
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Happy everything is working out for you. Listen to your doctor. Glad you're ok.
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Old 05-23-11, 04:47 PM   #9
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That is actually a reassuring post. A heart attack and back on the bike in a week or two? If my ticker goes bad I hope it works out like that.
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Old 05-23-11, 04:54 PM   #10
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I had a heart attack at age 44 - similar to you, I couldn't believe that it could be that since I was way too young (I am 52 now, and still way too young ). My wife is a nurse, and when I described my symptoms to her, she had me in the Drs office before I could finish my sentence. I too ended up with a cardiac cath and stent, mine is in the LCX.

During the cardiac rehab, I spent a lot of time on exercise bikes and treadmills with a heart monitor attached. They told me that they wanted me to be able to feel the amount of exertion that it took to bring my heart to a particular rate. I was told to exercise with my heart rate at ~135 to 140. I started cycling after that, and got out on the road, and spent a lot of time riding before I got a heart rate monitor, and what I found was that for the same perceived level of exertion, my heart rate was much higher when riding on the road.
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Old 05-23-11, 05:02 PM   #11
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Wow, thanks for the play-by-play which sounds like a "typical" response ("No, really, I'm fine") and the classic pattern of symptoms -- chest pain, and pain in the left arm. Had you had non-classic symptoms (pain only in the upper back, as did one person I know who was having a massive heart attack), things may have turned out differently. It's very reassuring that your outcome is so positive.

The former president of our bike group died of a heart attack while riding apart from the group one morning. He was a most-beloved member, a strong rider for many years but always willing to ride in the back to encourage and support slower riders or anyone who needed mechanical support.

Earlier this year another member got off her bike, not feeling well, and turned down all offers for help from other group members. One of them offered to wait for her but she insisted against it. While she remained there alone, she blacked out and fell into the bushes. After that, she wore a monitor for a while and seems to be fine now, but we have a new group rule: "Leave no rider behind."

Based on these circumstances if I ever encounter a rider (or walker, runner, etc.) who appears to be in distress I will wait until help arrives.
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Old 05-23-11, 05:23 PM   #12
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you have some great friends.
yes. I agree!
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Old 05-23-11, 05:36 PM   #13
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That was an intense story! I am glad you came out of it as well as you did.
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Old 05-23-11, 05:41 PM   #14
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Wow! Glad you survived to tell the tale.
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Old 05-23-11, 05:53 PM   #15
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Wow man glad things turned out for you.

I am 30 now and just barely started looking out for the health of my heart and arteries.

http://health.msn.com/health-topics/...-heart-attacks

I just hope my lifestyle previous to now is at least somewhat reversible.

And also, just because you feel healthy, have great blood pressure, and healthy cholesterol, it doesn't mean your arteries are healthy. That article is a pretty good read for anyone that hasn't had a heart attack or even those that have. I seriously can't read enough about this stuff.

Good luck, and stay healthy!
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Old 05-23-11, 06:54 PM   #16
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Buddy, that's a great cautionary tale. It sounds to me as if you had the right inner dialog, and you were certainly with the right group - a very lucky man indeed! I hope you have many more years of riding.
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Old 05-23-11, 07:01 PM   #17
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A tremendous story, buddy. What amazes me is how medical science has progressed. What would have been the chances ten or twnety years ago of having a heart attack, being out the hospital in two days, and being back on the bike in a week or so?
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Old 05-23-11, 07:13 PM   #18
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I had a similar experience about five years ago. Out on our annual New Year's Day ride, I passed out just outside of town. In determining why I passed out, they discovered significant blockage. Shortly I had five bypasses, thanks to the surgeons at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. They said biking saved my life, as if I had not passed out, I was looking at a major cardiac event. Further, with biking my heart was actually in good shape and I had some very good veins and generally good health to aid my recovery.

I now keep my heart rate down with a beta blocker. Can't ride as hard or climb like I once did, due to not being able to get my heart rate above 115, but at least I'm riding. Tend to do shorter rides, but get in about 3,000 miles a year. Not too bad for a 66 y/o has been.
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Old 05-23-11, 09:33 PM   #19
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A tremendous story, buddy. What amazes me is how medical science has progressed. What would have been the chances ten or twnety years ago of having a heart attack, being out the hospital in two days, and being back on the bike in a week or so?
My grandfather 30 years plus went to the emergency room with chest pains. They wanted a copy of his EKG from his doctor. They called his doctor, he went to his office and delivered them to the hospital. My grandfather had a massive heart attack while waiting for his doctor.

30 years latter. EMS comes to the park take an EKG wires to the hospital a cardiologist reads the EKG. EMS gives me baby aspirins and Nitroglycerin spray. I leave the hospital in two days.

Yes times have changed.
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Old 05-23-11, 09:39 PM   #20
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I am so happy to hear that you survived. It is fantastic that the damage to your heart was minimal. I hope it never happens to you again.
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Old 05-23-11, 10:17 PM   #21
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Great reminder for all of us that are over 50. It's high time I start eating better to compliment the exercise I get on the bike.
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Old 05-23-11, 10:49 PM   #22
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Glad you made it out alive from your episode. I turned 66 today and almost did not do my birthday ride today because of chest pain and pain in my right elbow that i had on the 12 of this month. Went to the ER for two days and my heart is fine. Still though i took it easy on my ride with more stops than i usually do. When i got back from my ride my hr was 110. I used the 39 ring for most of the ride. We are not has beens as we are still doing. Its just we have to allow for this stage of our life. Hope you have many more enjoyable miles left in your cycling life. Ride safe.
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Old 05-23-11, 11:08 PM   #23
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wow
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Old 05-24-11, 02:05 AM   #24
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A tremendous story, buddy. What amazes me is how medical science has progressed. What would have been the chances ten or twnety years ago of having a heart attack, being out the hospital in two days, and being back on the bike in a week or so?
I had mine coming up to 15 years ago. I was out of hospital in under two days. Had I been a cyclist then, I would have been back on the bike -- gingerly -- within the two weeks. As it was, I took up cycling as a result of the wake-up call.

I had mine while sailing. I had a general lack of energy, and chest pain. I was lucky. I had no significant blockage and "trivial" heart muscle damage, as the surgeon put it.

Last edited by Rowan; 05-24-11 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 05-24-11, 05:43 AM   #25
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Very glad you are recovering. Amazing story. Reminds me that the most prevalent symptom of a heart attack is denial.
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