• Community Members
    Oct. 18, 2017, 6:04 p.m.

    so last december i was diagnosed with a myocardial bridge after having a heart cath for chest pain. i am 57 years old and a nurse so i am not the best patient. at this time i take no medications . have not had chest pain since i ran my half marathon last march. my problem is i now notice extreme fatigue after running and i mean only 4.5 miles. i am not fast but a little heavier than i was due to the fact i don't run as much . i was wondering if any one else has this issue. i mean after my run i take a 2-3 hour nap. it is so frustrating but i song want to give up my running. would appreciate any feedback .

  • Nov. 11, 2017, 3:56 p.m.

    Thanks so much for posting your experience Mindy, I apologize for not replying to you sooner!

    So based on other experiences I have read, including Drew's recent post, it does seem like the fatigue you are experiencing could be related to your MB. Does the fatigue start during your run or always after? What if you lower the distance and slow down your pace, does the fatigue still set in? Have you tried any other cardio activities and if so, do they bring on the fatigue as well?

    Also, I'm curious why your doctors did not put you on any precautionary medications? I had an extreme episode where my MB caused a heart attack, I have no day to day symptoms, but Dr Schnittger still has me on baby Aspirin, Lisinopril and Metoprolol. I highly recommend getting in contact with Dr Schnittger at Stanford Medical Center, she is the leading expert in myocardial bridges.
    Ingela Schnittger - Stanford University Medical Center

    As a side note... I completely understand your frustration and reluctance to give up running. I don't think you need to give up yet, but be safe and be careful, MBs are not something to blow off and "run through". I still run, when I do I always wear an HR monitor and am very aware of how hard I'm pushing myself. Dr Schnittger's advice was to keep my HR below 80% of my max. If you don't know your max, you can get a general estimate with 220-[your age]=max HR. Also, for what it's worth, I've found cycling to be great cardio, lots of fun and generally keeps my HR quite a bit lower than running does.

    I hope this helps, please keep us updated on your situation. :)

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  • Community Members
    Nov. 13, 2017, 5:33 p.m.

    So, I have very similar symptoms. No, distinct angina so to speak during exercise, but if I run more than 30-40 minutes my upper body feels exhausted like all the energy was literally sucked out of my upper body muscles (chest, shoulders and arms, which is interesting since it is my legs that did the work and they usually feel fine) and it takes several hours for my heart rate to come down to normal. I haven't napped right afterward, but I have noticed that I never felt completely recovered until the next morning after I had slept. I don't push myself much anymore to avoid feeling this way. I have found I can do <30 minutes of moderate aerobics (heart rate <140) activity with almost no symptoms afterward.

  • Nov. 26, 2017, 2:27 p.m.

    Thanks for the details Drew, really interesting... Do the symptoms ever come on during the run or is it always after?

    Sounds like moderation is the key.

  • Community Members
    Nov. 27, 2017, 5:32 p.m.

    I never feel great while I'm running, but I typically don't have any chest discomfort either. The 3 times I did a stress test, i never had chest discomfort, but I didn't feel 'well' and stopped the tests at 11 and 12 minutes. (EKGs were largely normal, according to everyone but Stanford who saw the typical MB patterns) HR was taken to 160 and 170, and the most discomfort was in the recovery phase. I don't feel well for hours afterwards and HR doesn't return to normal resting for at least 12 hours. That extended recovery was the result of the physical exertion ofr the stress tests, I typically don't have any issues recovering from a slow 30 minute jog.

    With all that said, 2 weeks ago I did some weight lifting about 5- 6 sets, not really heavy, probably 8-15 reps. I only go until the muscle is fatigued I never try to push through any forced reps or to total failure. After about 15-20 minutes of weights (which is as more resting time between lifts than actually lifting) I did an elliptical with HR <120 the entire time for about 13 minutes. I changed and drove back to work and while in the parking lot I noticed my HR was still 92, now 20 minutes after elliptical, which isn't normal. A few seconds later I felt a distinct crushing/squeezing sensation in my chest (the only other time I felt it was on the cath table in Stanford when they induced ischemia as they were testing the endolthelial function of the bridged LAD). I thought for sure I was having an HA. The pain lasted only a few seconds and completely resolved almost as fast as it came on, but I was transported to ER just the same. I'll tests were negative for HA and after waiting 8 hrs for 2nd troponin test, I was sent home. My HR was still in the 90s when I left ER and did not return to low 60s until 11 hours later. Stanford induced the LAD to spasm (constrict) during the cath -angio, I guess that is what must have happened in the parking lot. So, I've done no exercise sense and am now planning on proceeding with debridging surgery on 12/18/17... plan is for total endoscopic surgery.... eeccch.. sort of scary, but I have yet to find any really complications or issues with the surgery. (Other than Stanford who is pleading with me not to have the surgery outside of their very experienced surgical group...)

  • Nov. 30, 2017, 5:11 p.m.

    Thanks for the details about your symptoms.

    Stanford does seem to be the experts here, so I trust their judgement. Do you feel like the doctors you have scheduled the surgery with have sufficient expertise and you trust their judgement? Has Stanford given you reasons why they object to the doctors you have found? I'm curious what the difference would be having the surgery at Stanford vs where you are going..

  • Community Members
    Dec. 6, 2017, 8:53 p.m.

    Yup - when I was training for a half marathon (running 30+ miles a week - longest would be 11 mile days) I would be EXTREMELY fatigued after running. More than usual. People even pointed it out. I thought it was just part of the process, but looking back I realize that it was probably my MB...

  • Dec. 7, 2017, 6:12 p.m.

    That's interesting @nichelles, how did your body react on race day? Did you know about your MB during training? Also curious if you are still running and have figured out a way to run without the fatigue issue?

    oh and.. welcome to the community! :)

  • Community Members
    Dec. 7, 2017, 10:18 p.m.

    Thanks - Got a referral from a fitness blogger that you apparently commented on a lot. ;p

    Don't mean to ramble on about my health issues- but since there isn't a lot of information I thought i'd be a little bit of an over-sharer encase someone find this thread.

    I did not know about my MB during training as I was just diagnosed last month - I am glad that I know now, since from what I read it is recognized as a leading cause of sudden death in young athletes ... I found out I had an MB by chance - I was diagnosed with Pericarditis (inflammation around the Pericardium, the heart sack) and later did a nuclear stress test since I had really bad chest pain after exercise. It came back positive (photos showed signs of slight/faint lack of oxygen around my heart [where I know now is where my MB is] after exercise). Then I did a cardiac catherization to see if I had inflammation in my veins/what they looked like (mainly was done because I met my out-of-pocket for the year, cardiologist didn't think I needed it since I'm a young, healthy, 25 year old [ex?]-athlete) but thats when the found the MB

    When I was trying to train through that, I couldn't even run one mile (and I was used to 11) but that was when I also had pericarditis.

    Kind of hard to say if my fatigue and discomfort was from pericarditis or the MB.... I haven't ran since September (every time I ran my pericarditis would act up) so I haven't figured out a way.

    I was put on a very low dose of a calcium channel blocker. I am not sure what my restrictions are - my cardiologist said to wait and see how I respond to the medication. I think I will probably be told to not reach a certain heart rate. I hate to admit it, but I don't think I will be doing any marathon running. Just too risky even with medication. It kind of breaks my heart but I will probably just find a new way of exercise to get neurotic about - maybe weight lifting or swimming.

  • Dec. 19, 2017, 1:53 a.m.

    Thanks so much for the writeup @nichelles. Would you mind posting your story on it's own thread? I think your story is really interesting and just don't want it to get lost in the mix.

    I had not heard of pericarditis before. Has the medication helped you make any progress? Have they said how long it will take to see the symptoms subside? I'm also curious if they think the symptoms you are feeling are from the MB or the pericarditis?

    I'm really hoping you can conquer that and get back to running. If you were not having MB symptoms before all this, I don't see why you wouldn't be able to get back to it. The key here is taking things slow, in moderation and listening to your body (and your doctors). Getting told that doing what you love may result in sudden death really sucks. I know how you feel there. I've been through the same thing with my running. I still run a lot and have done ultramarathons since my diagnosis, just not as far or as fast as I used to go. One suggestion I'd have, if you were a road runner before, try getting out on the trails. Gravity is a nice equalizer. It's ok to hike up the mountain, go slow, then running down is easy! You can keep a low HR while running downhill and have a ton of fun. Plus in trail running, no one cares about your times, you're not pushing any pace, it's just about being outside and enjoying nature.

    I agree on the weight lifting and swimming ideas. Both are great low HR activities. I've recently got back into lifting also, it's amazing how good of a workout I can get in while keeping a low HR the entire time. I'd also suggest cycling, tons of fun while keeping a lower HR and impact than running.

    Don't say [ex]-athlete! You're going to conquer this and find a way to do the things you love while listening to your body and being careful. There is a way!

    edit: btw, the advice you'll likely receive regarding activities will be to keep your heart rate below 80% of your max. If you don't know your max, you can get a ballpark number with the equation: 220 - [your age]