Athletic activities and ICDs

Posts from Jan. 1, 2018 to the present. Plus important announcements. (ICD warning sounds)

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Athletic activities and ICDs

Post by john_not_typical » May 18th, 2019, 4:54 pm

My cardiologist thinks implanting an ICD is the right idea for me. He’s a little worried that I might get fired from my job and I am also but if it’s a good idea it is. If I can’t be an engineer anymore than I can’t. Maybe I can peruse my true calling and me a church organist!

My current question is about biking and surfing. I’m well aware I might be the only person with this issue but maybe someone can help me. I still bike and surf frequently. My cardiologist has told me to keep doing this since he thinks the only reason I’m still around is I was in such good shape and I trained the rest of my body to comensapte for my heart. He is very insistent I don’t stop what I was doing before to make sure I’m doing what ever it is that let me live this long. I know it’s weird someone with a 20% EF is doing this but we’ll, here we are.

I’m going to have the ICD either way since my dr says to go for it, but does anyone surf or bike with and ICD? I have an MS in biomedical engineering from one of the top universities in the world but until it happpens to you it’s iust crap drs tell you. And I’m guilty of that too. Sorry.

I’m worried about the up and down motion of cycling and the lying on a surfboard getting out of the shorebreak with the ICD. Has anyone had to deal with this?

Thanks in advance.

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Colin Pearson
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Re: Athletic activities and ICDs

Post by Colin Pearson » May 18th, 2019, 6:39 pm

I don't surf but I do cycle.

I've cycled about 9,000 miles since I had my ICD implanted in 2013 with no issues (related to cycling) at all.

Get out there and enjoy yourself !

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Re: Athletic activities and ICDs

Post by mykidsmom » May 18th, 2019, 6:54 pm

I dont surf either like colin..but i cycled until about 5 years ago when i lost the sight in one eye...nothing at all to do with the icd implant..and ive just recently started cycling husband is an engineer but hes never had anything to do with high voltage magnets and i think that might be the issue...if your exposed to magnets...well you might have to rethink neighbor is an engineer and also has an implant...and off he goes to work every day..hes never mentioned anything and hes an extreme whine..if there was an issue we have heard about it..

good need to be able to swim to surf right??
I think.....Therefore I am.!!!!!

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Re: Athletic activities and ICDs

Post by Melissa » May 18th, 2019, 9:13 pm

I don't surf regularly but I did go surfing when I was in Hawaii about 18 months after I had my device implanted back in 2010. No issues what so ever. I am very active and had no issues with any type of exercise interfering with my device. You really do almost forget it is there after a while.
Melissa - dx cardiomyopathy in 2004 due to childhood chemotherapy; Boston Scientific CRT-D implanted 8/10, meds: Toprol XL 100mg/day, aldactone 25mg/day. Second ICD implanted 3/18, also Boston Scientific CRT-D

Stella Blue
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Re: Athletic activities and ICDs

Post by Stella Blue » May 19th, 2019, 6:44 am

I wouldn't think surfing would raise any special issues for the ICD, as they are pretty sturdy. I did a search on "Surfing with an ICD" and a bunch of things came up. A lot of it looked like nonsense, but it did seem clear there are a lot of people out there surfing with ICDs. Makes sense to me that if you have a condition that puts you at risk for an SCA, you are much better of surfing with an ICD than without one. On the other hand, it might be a little painful for you lying flat on a hard surfboard with the ICD under the skin, although maybe a wetsuit would take care of that. One option that some people consider is implanting the ICD under the muscle, although that's a somewhat bigger operation than the normal one.

Sounds like you have a great cardiologist. And the idea of your giving up engineering and becoming a church organist reminded me of our sergeant at arms Ron, who used to be a long-distance trucker and is now a chaplain (among a multitude of other things).

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Re: Athletic activities and ICDs

Post by Leedur » May 19th, 2019, 9:51 am

I am very active working and gym problems. Think you should avoid overhead pulling motions or at least use very light resistance. Certainly no issues with cycling.

As for surfing, I have never tried it. Since the Jaws movie came out, I have yet to set foot in an ocean. The only thing that comes to mind would be if I actually had near contact with a shark, out of fear, my defibrillator would probably activate.

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Re: Athletic activities and ICDs

Post by DowneasTTer » May 19th, 2019, 3:41 pm

I don't surf, but I do ride. Since having my ICD my wife and I ride on average of 10k miles/year. So riding shouldn't be a problem at all. One thing I have done is go to a flat bar road bike simply because I found when riding in drops the wires coming out of my ICD would put a little pressure on my collar bone after 30 miles or so. May or may not be an issue for you. If your over on bike forums you can check out my threads under the same id. Good luck as the others have stated don't let the icd limit you. Enjoy.
Idiopathic CHF diagnosed Nov. 1 2011
EF at 15-20 % currently 20-25 % (May 2013)
Medtronic Evera S VR implanted Dec. 3 2013
Carvedilol 12.5mg 2Xday, Lisinopril 40mg, Furosemide 20mg as needed

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Re: Athletic activities and ICDs

Post by john_not_typical » May 19th, 2019, 10:53 pm

Wow everyone thanks for the replies! It is the pressure of the ICD on the surfboard while I paddle out that I’m worried about. However, I still love bodysurfing so I could always go back to that. It sounds like swimming in the ocean is no big deal. My cardiologist also said this so I guess it’s true.

For what it’s worth I live in Maryland where we swim in the ocean 6 months a year with no wetsuit (seriously 80 degree ocean temps are normal August and September) but maybe there’s something I can work with there. Thanks.

Oh and I already have a flat bar road bike but I could use a new one...

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