Warfarin and mountain biking

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Hello, and firstly thanks in advance for any advice people can give me.

I am 36 yrs old and had a mechanical aortic heart valve replacement in 2007 and so I am on warfarin for life. My range is 3-4 which on average takes 8mg of warfarin to sustain.

My problem is that the one thing in life that really makes me tick is downhill mountain biking and I find that just a slight fall can be enough to cause massive swelling, bruising and agonising pain. Having just spent the last 3 days in pain that absorbs me so much it brings me to tears following a slight fall I feel I need to seek advice. (By the way after a trip to a&e and enough codeine to sink a battleship things are now a bit more under control). I am not ready to join the local knitting club any time soon so keen to seek advice into any warfarin replacements that would cause less of the swelling and bleeding (if such a thing exists) the next time this inevitably happens. 

I have spoken with my GP about it and he was not prepared to offer me a replacement on the basis that things are harder to reverse if it all goes wrong. Having spoken with a friend who is also a doctor on the subject yesterday she advised that there was a reversal but it was just not as simple. She wasn't sure if it was licencesd for my condition though.

Is there some advice and recommendations anyone can give or do I just need to put up with this?

Thanks for your help

Elliot

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Sorry to hear of your problem, it must be hard to really want to take part in an activity that can so easily end up with you in a lot of pain and/or A & E! Trouble is, whatever anticoagulant you take, however it does it's work, the end result is that your blood takes longer to clot. That, after all, is the simple measurement that INR is giving. So if you sustain an injury hard enough to bruise, then that bruise is going to swell causing pressure and pain. The newer alternatives to Warfarin seem to have the advantage of not needing the regular monitoring, but as I say, the end result must be that your blood takes longer to clot. I used to be on clopidogrel, an anti-platelet, which doesn't need monitoring but I used to bruise much worse on clopidogrel than I do on Warfarin. I'm sure that antidotes to the newer drugs will be found (this is one drawback to them at the moment)but I'm sorry to say that even if this is the case, the potential for painful bruising will still exist.
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  • Posted

    The new alternatives to warfarain are contra indicated for patients with tissue or mechanical valves.
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  • Posted

    Thanks for all the advice, I will keep the body armour and codeine on standby!
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  • Posted

    i have had a mechanical aortic heart valve sice the year 2000. My INR has to stay between 2.3 and 3.5. I have to take 6mg of coumadin daily. which I take at night, and a baby aspirin in the morning. The biggest problem I have is brusing and bleeding. The least little bump will leave a large bruse. I have ask my heart doctor about the other alternatives to coumadin and was told that I had to stay on coumadin. They now can replace the aortic heart valve thru your side or up the artery in your leg. That would be a lot better than cutting you open. Heart surgery has come a long way. A mechanical valve is supposed to last forever, where a pig or cow valve only last about 10 years or maybe 15 years. I had a choice, but I knew I did not want to go through heart surgery again, so I chose the mechanical. valve even though I knew I was going to take warfarin the rest of my life. If it were to happened today, I would choose the pig valve.  You need to keep a first aid kit handy with lots of band aids. I wish you the best.
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