Exercise following Cardioversion

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Following my Cardiologists appointment yesterday in which it was noted that my heart function has improved to the point where Cardioversion is now being scheduled with a better than average chance of it being successful, I would be interested to hear any experiences from people that have either returned to or started running following this procedure.

I'd always been a committed runner, when the Cardiologist asked me if I felt "back to normal" I made the point that my "normal" is being able to run 10 miles without too much thought, so no.

I have a place in the 2019 London Marathon (deferred from 2018) and would like to target this event as a final Marathon (it was also my first marathon in 1999)  So as I mentioned previously I'd welcome any input from runners (or other endurance athletes) that have suffered AF and then resumed their training.

1 like, 12 replies

12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Jayson, You might want to read Dr. John Mandrola's book, "The Haywire Heart". He's both an EP and endurance athlete. He's also an afib sufferer so talking from personal experience. In the book he addresses afib and endurance athletics.

    Curious, what do  you mean by " it was noted that my heart function has improved to the point where Cardioversion is now being scheduled with a better than average chance of it being successful"

    In general, the only prequsite for cardioversion is either a wait period while on blood thinners to prevent blod clots or a TEE right before the ablation to look for blood clots.


    • Posted

      Hi Jim,

      I was suffering from an enlarged heart as well as AF (and Hypertension and TIA, I'm just in bits) and have been taking a mixed cocktail of medication since December to control these conditions.

      I was originally told that due to the condition of my heart a Cardioversion was not likely to be successful and we should look at management via medication only.

      I was sent for a follow up echo cardiogram a few weeks ago and it would appear I've responded well to the meds and I'm now worth looking at for a Cardioversion. The Cardiologist estimated the chances of it being a fully succesful and permanent fix at around 50%.

      I however am preferring to look on the positive side and expect it to be fully successful enabling me to get back to sub 4 hour marathon running. 

  • Posted

    Hi Jason,

    If it helps I was diagnosed with atrial flutter in Dec 2016 and then immediately had a stroke. This was followed by an ablation in June 2017, just over a year ago. I was, and still am a regular cyclist, and this year will ride 100 miles in the Ride London. My only meds are a blood thinner, and so I have to be careful not to fall off and get road rash. My stroke left me with some slight visual impairment but not enough to prevent me from cycling.

    The riding, or at least the uphill bits, gets my heart up to it's maximum and beyond, circa 160 for a 69 year old, and back down again quite happily. My approach like yours is to be positive, and I have been encouraged to continue with my regular cycling.

    I sincerely hope the cardioversion works for you, and that you achieve your objective of the 2019 London Marathon. Jim's recommendation of The Haywire Heart is a very good one, I read it earlier this year, and there is some good intelligence in it.

    Best Wishes

    Sherpa Al

    • Posted

      Hi Al,

      Thanks for the encouragement, and I hope the Ride London goes well.

      I'll look out for The Haywire Heart as well.

    • Posted


      I just read about a 69 year old taking part in Ride London that died following a heart attack.

      I hope you are well and not sufferning any ill effects beyond a sore saddle region.

      Best wishes


    • Posted

      Hello Jason,

      Well thank you for remembering, and no it was not me. The truth is that the charity I signed up to failed to register me for the event, and I only found out at the 11th hour. They have offered me another 100 miler toward the end of September which I plan to ride.

      Although I did not ride yesterday, I have recently ridden a 100 miles locally with my club and subsequent 50-60 mile rides without a problem. My suspicion is that it is more likely to be someone who does not ride regularly and tries for 100 miles, although that is an assumption.

      Any progress toward your cardio version?

      Best Wishes


  • Posted

    Hi Jason, me again, my assumption was wrong, he was an experienced cyclist. His wife said he died doing something he loved. I think anyone of any age takes some risk running, cycling etc, and if it does happen to me, the same will apply. Better in my view suffering for ages with some terminal disease.


    • Posted

      Hi Al,

      Im very pleased to hear you are well, although my thoughts go out to Nigel Buchan-Swanson’s family.

      on a more positive note I have a cardio version scheduled for 17th August, hoping to be back out running by September, the heart failure team in Salisbury seemed happy for me to resume endurance events so watch this space for updates.

  • Posted

    Not long to wait now then Jason, I really hope all goes well, keep us all posted, this type of information greatly helps the AF community I'm sure.

    Best Wishes


  • Posted

    Cardioversion happened on Friday and i'm back in Normal Sinus Rhythm. 

    RHR back in the mid fifties, drugs being reduced. 

    I went for my first run since May on Sunday morning, the difference is almost indescribable. 

    When I tried running in May I could get maybe 500m before I ran out of steam, yesterday I was plodding away for 2 miles. I was out of condition and had to walk for around a quarter of the route but there's a big difference between being unfit and being in AF. I felt great and plan on being back out tonight with a target to get round the London Marathon in under 4 hours next April. 

  • Posted

    Just to follow up on this for anyone that's interested...

    My AF seems to have been banished following Cardioversion, I now have a resting heart rate in the low fifties and Blood Pressure around 120 - 130 over mid 80s which I am delighted with and the Cardiac team in Salisbury all seem happy about.

    The running has continued, 6 miles is now a comfortable distance for me, I have a 10Km race in a couple of weeks and will be putting myself into a couple of half marathons in early 2019 as a lead in to the London Marathon on 28th April. I have a personal target of sub 4 hours. Watch this space.

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