Forums: Community: Skydivers with Disabilities:
Skydiving after open heart surgery

 


skybadiver  (D 24150)

Jul 14, 2012, 3:57 PM
Post #1 of 24 (4497 views)
Shortcut
Skydiving after open heart surgery Can't Post

I was wondering if anyone knows how long you should wait to skydive after having open heart surgery with a valve replacement. I am sure my surgeon will tell me, but I think the answer maybe different coming from a jumper. Any skydivers that have had this issue? Your advice would be greatly appreciated Smile btw I am 33 years old and in good shape otherwise.


Andy9o8  (D License)

Jul 14, 2012, 4:36 PM
Post #2 of 24 (4440 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

Nobody who is not a trained medical professional is qualified to answser this. Individual non-professional anecdotal experiences, without more, are greatly overrated.


skybadiver  (D 24150)

Jul 15, 2012, 10:01 AM
Post #3 of 24 (4411 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Andy9o8] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

I understand each one is different and I am not looking for a specific answer. A general idea would be great from someone who does not think skydiving is dangerous and stupid (ie. my doctor)


BillyVance  (D 18895)

Jul 15, 2012, 12:33 PM
Post #4 of 24 (4405 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

I know at least one skydiver who has had open heart surgery at about your age. Shit went south on an open water professional dive and he almost died. Not sure how long it took him to recover and jump again. He doesn't get on here anymore though. I'll ask though.


Andy9o8  (D License)

Jul 15, 2012, 12:42 PM
Post #5 of 24 (4403 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I understand each one is different and I am not looking for a specific answer. A general idea would be great from someone who does not think skydiving is dangerous and stupid (ie. my doctor)

Oh, I understand completely. I, too, have had doctors who were unwilling to give me a direct answer to "(When) can I skydive again?" because they disapproved of or didn't want to "enable" my skydiving.

Your choices are to either find a doctor willing to give you a direct, non-self-serving answer if you use the word "skydive" in your question, or to ask your doctor a more generic question about active sports, stressful activities, etc.

But I say again: personal-experience medical anecdotes by non-experts (in medicine) are overrated, because their small sampling group (often "one"), plus their lack of (actual) expertise in the subject area (here, medicine) results in an unduly high chance of error due to over- or under-emphasis of key factors. In other words: best to ask a doctor, not a non-medical skydiver.


(This post was edited by Andy9o8 on Jul 15, 2012, 12:44 PM)


wmw999  (D 6296)

Jul 15, 2012, 1:35 PM
Post #6 of 24 (4397 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

You have to find a doctor you can be honest with. That way, if he tells you that you really can't skydive again, you'll believe him (or her).

If the doctor just thinks skydiving is insane, that's one thing. But if you're at greater risk for a torn aorta (as an example), then I'd say it might not be the best sport choice any more.

Find a doctor you can trust, and who will give you good details about your physical condition. Hand-waving and "bad-bad-scary" isn't an answer, is it.

Wendy P.


Cloudfly

Dec 3, 2013, 10:07 AM
Post #7 of 24 (3525 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

skybadiver wrote:
I was wondering if anyone knows how long you should wait to skydive after having open heart surgery with a valve replacement. I am sure my surgeon will tell me, but I think the answer maybe different coming from a jumper. Any skydivers that have had this issue? Your advice would be greatly appreciated Smile btw I am 33 years old and in good shape otherwise.

Ebstein's Anomoly?


JohnSherman  (D 2105)

Dec 4, 2013, 9:13 AM
Post #8 of 24 (3433 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

I started jumping in 1958. I was in a car crash in 1965 which ripped a hole in my Atrium (where the Aorta attached to the heart) requiring 6 stitches. I was without heart beat for 6 minutes and technically dead. I had a resection rib which was broken in the crash. I didn't jump again until 1968 after I passed a First Class physical as I am also a pilot. I was 26 at the time of the accident and in good shape.
If you can pass a 3rd class FAA physical I would think you would be good to go.


ChrisD  (No License)

Dec 7, 2013, 3:02 PM
Post #9 of 24 (3278 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

I love this kind of question. SmileSmileSmile ...NOT

Actually I know of a number of people that have in fact have had some heart surgery.
I won't give out their names. That really wouldn't be fair to them. But they get along fine and they have large numbers of jumps.

I hope that inspires you to continue the things you enjoy doing Smile

C

Not to argue with Mr. Sherman, but getting a third class exam really is a poor substitute for competent medical care and or advice. Pilot medical exams really are an outdated attempt by our government to protect the public because of some knee jerk reactionisim that has persisted since the advent of TV. If the FAA really wanted to save pilots, recency and competency evaluations would probably do more than the exam....

and I'm not speaking about using the ticket as a punitive tool. If your not current then I would just limit the class of airspace I'd let you fly in. If you want to fly only 2 hours per year, fine, I don't think that's a good idea, but if you want to spend those 2 hours do it 100 miles away from any populated area! That's all....But trying to protect the public using phobias and that FAA exam and mandatory age limits is just bull crap.


(This post was edited by ChrisD on Dec 7, 2013, 3:11 PM)


collinb  (D 1307)

Dec 9, 2013, 3:07 PM
Post #10 of 24 (3210 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

Not quite the same surgery but I had a quad-by-pass in March/April 2009, I can't remember the exact dates, and was jumping again in July 2009, again not sure exactly when in July! My primary cardiologist said stick to tidily-winks but checked with 3-4 skydivers I know who are doctors and they all said "I" was OK and probably stronger in that area than before my surgery.

But that was ME and the risks I was prepared to take and the operation/situation is different to yours so, as you have been recommended in other posts, find doctors who understand your specific situation.

here's the video of my return to the sky :-)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Xu3_e12sVg

take care, it is possible to get back but "do it right"
as an old friend of mine used to say
"Blues Skies and Soft Landings"
Collin

p.s. PM me if you want to talk about what I went through and did to return

p.p.s. I'm flying base on the jumps :-)


(This post was edited by collinb on Dec 9, 2013, 3:21 PM)


SkyCoi  (D 31190)

Dec 9, 2013, 4:51 PM
Post #11 of 24 (3180 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

I had what is called the Ross Procedure in 1998 (I was 32) - pulmonary valve moved to the aortic position and a donor valve placed in the pulmonary position. Upside of this, as opposed to swine or manufactured valve is supposed to be less chance of rejection, no need to take anti-coagulants (they made me feel like shit) and it grows with you. Downside, potentially as it relates to skydiving, is that I had a single diseased valve (aortic) treated with two valve procedures (aortic and pulmonary).

Multiple points of failure I guess is the way I think of it, and I certainly believe (without actually knowing) that I’m more at risk of a hard opening or other direct impact causing one of the valves to disengage. I didn’t start jumping until 2006, and before I did I spoke to my cardiologist who didn’t really have much to say about it other than that I was “crazy” to jump out of a plane. He did have a lot to say about scuba, however, because of risk due to the pressure of diving. Makes sense to me. Anyway, this has been my experience. I accept the likelihood of increased risk without having been really proactive about seeking the actual science in this area. If my life circumstances were different I might feel differently about that.

I also want to echo what Andy said, in that nobody who is not a trained medical professional is qualified to answer this question. Individual non-professional anecdotal experiences are greatly overrated and potentially dangerous. Basically, I don’t know shit – but would be happy to chat about the surgery if you’re nervous or have questions. Good luck to you my friend!


DrDom  (Student)

Dec 13, 2013, 9:05 PM
Post #12 of 24 (3039 views)
Shortcut
Re: [SkyCoi] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

I can weigh in for a few parts. I had a Ross procedure at age 27 for a leaky aortic valve, and I recently took up skydiving. I'm also a doctor (yes the MD kind)

So, a few things... First off, the real risk of skydiving on an aortic valve is not that you will "tear off" a valve; you actually go back to the basic risks of the general population and usually when you oversew an area you actually end up with that piece scarring and being STRONGER than before. If you hit hard enough to tear your replacement, you would have probably sheared your aorta already, even with a healthy valve. You DO need to get your regular echoes and such but in general this alone is not a real contraindication to skydiving as your REAL risk is long term heart disease. And your knowledge of the Ross is spot on, I elected to have one having known how great of a procedure is. Yes, there is a 2 valve replacement, but your risk with a 2 valve replacement is LESS than a Pig/Cow valve (which at our age will ONLY last 5-7 years and require replacement) or the risk of being on warfarin (blood thinners) which would be a contraindication to skydiving.

NOW... the real question as to recovery time. It is multifactorial. First, the sternum will take WELL over 2 months to heal. Well over. But you have wires in place that will hold the sternum. So the real issue is the suture lines on the valves and coronary arteries (which get moved during valve replacement). These will also take a few months to properly heal over.

Normally they do echocardiograms after; I had mine at 1; 3; 6; 12 months and twice yearly for 5 years. After my 6 month checkup I was given a "clean bill of health" and sent out to the world. I was allowed back on a motorcycle, auto racing, etc. Skydiving would likely be not very different in terms of risk.

I would at least get to your first echo appointment since any postop issues would manifest by then.

Interesting how many of us had heart surgery young. Most of my friends do not understand how I can be afraid to skydive but was cucumber cool going in for surgery. Guess it is all in what you know ;)

With that in mind, you should ask your surgeon. I did not do your exact surgery and any issues or findings (I'm an ER doc, I just have a lot of knowledge having gone through this) so I can not attest to what is exactly right in your specific case. As it is, I have to disclaimer that this post should not be taken as medical advice (blah blah legal crap blah blah use at your own risk consult your doctor and fortune teller before skydiving).


(This post was edited by DrDom on Dec 13, 2013, 9:10 PM)


MikeStafford  (D 3598)

Jan 30, 2014, 11:07 AM
Post #13 of 24 (2777 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't jump the same day as the surgery. If the answer a skydiver gives you is different from that of your surgeon, I would take the advice of the skydiver. Surgeons don't know jack about skydiving.


Andy9o8  (D License)

Jan 30, 2014, 11:09 AM
Post #14 of 24 (2765 views)
Shortcut
Re: [MikeStafford] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I wouldn't jump the same day as the surgery.

You have a defeatist attitude. Wimp.


MikeStafford  (D 3598)

Jan 30, 2014, 12:01 PM
Post #15 of 24 (2743 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Andy9o8] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

Mea culpa. I was wrong about that. The truth is if it was a jump day I would cancel the surgery and get to the drop zone. Have the surgery when it's raining.


airdvr  (D 10977)

Jan 30, 2014, 6:16 PM
Post #16 of 24 (2701 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd give it a month. Then I'd make sure you had downsized to a reasonable 1.9 wing load, and begin to immediately try swooping. After you have made 20 or 30 attempts at swooping you could take a canopy course, but by then you probably won't need it. Make sure you have your go-pro turned on. Wink


MikeStafford  (D 3598)

Jan 31, 2014, 6:49 AM
Post #17 of 24 (2681 views)
Shortcut
Re: [airdvr] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

airdvr wrote:
I'd give it a month. Then I'd make sure you had downsized to a reasonable 1.9 wing load, and begin to immediately try swooping. After you have made 20 or 30 attempts at swooping you could take a canopy course, but by then you probably won't need it. Make sure you have your go-pro turned on. Wink

I'm trying to classify this post. Is it silly like my posts and the poster is being funny? Or it it dumb because the poster is a skydiver trying to give medical advice?

It's a tough call. I'll go with the second choice.


DrDom  (Student)

Jan 31, 2014, 3:45 PM
Post #18 of 24 (2644 views)
Shortcut
Re: [MikeStafford] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

MikeStafford wrote:
airdvr wrote:
I'd give it a month. Then I'd make sure you had downsized to a reasonable 1.9 wing load, and begin to immediately try swooping. After you have made 20 or 30 attempts at swooping you could take a canopy course, but by then you probably won't need it. Make sure you have your go-pro turned on. Wink

I'm trying to classify this post. Is it silly like my posts and the poster is being funny? Or it it dumb because the poster is a skydiver trying to give medical advice?

It's a tough call. I'll go with the second choice.

I would agree

I will say that I think a month is too short. The sternum should be well healed and at 1 month you are not quite there. I would say 6 months minimum and that would be aggressive, if it were my patient I'd tell 12 months and unil they can run a few miles with no problems (and after a few echoes).

my 2 cents
YMMV


Andy9o8  (D License)

Feb 1, 2014, 6:30 AM
Post #19 of 24 (2614 views)
Shortcut
Re: [MikeStafford] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

MikeStafford wrote:
airdvr wrote:
I'd give it a month. Then I'd make sure you had downsized to a reasonable 1.9 wing load, and begin to immediately try swooping. After you have made 20 or 30 attempts at swooping you could take a canopy course, but by then you probably won't need it. Make sure you have your go-pro turned on. Wink

I'm trying to classify this post. Is it silly like my posts and the poster is being funny? Or it it dumb because the poster is a skydiver trying to give medical advice?

It's a tough call. I'll go with the second choice.

Then you (& Dr.Dom) lost the bet.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Feb 2, 2014, 5:12 PM
Post #20 of 24 (2562 views)
Shortcut
Re: [DrDom] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

DrDom wrote:
... NOW... the real question as to recovery time. It is multifactorial. First, the sternum will take WELL over 2 months to heal. Well over. ...
Quote:

.................................................................................

I only bruised my sternum and ribs, but it was a good five months before I was strong enough to return to skydiving solo and a couple more months until I was strong enough to resume tandems.
I seem to heal much slower after age 50.


MikeStafford  (D 3598)

Feb 4, 2014, 5:45 PM
Post #21 of 24 (2494 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Andy9o8] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

Andy9o8 wrote:
MikeStafford wrote:
airdvr wrote:
I'd give it a month. Then I'd make sure you had downsized to a reasonable 1.9 wing load, and begin to immediately try swooping. After you have made 20 or 30 attempts at swooping you could take a canopy course, but by then you probably won't need it. Make sure you have your go-pro turned on. Wink

I'm trying to classify this post. Is it silly like my posts and the poster is being funny? Or it it dumb because the poster is a skydiver trying to give medical advice?

It's a tough call. I'll go with the second choice.

Then you (& Dr.Dom) lost the bet.

I see your point. Once again I failed to assess the pertinent variables and came up with the wrong conclusion. Giving up jump days for recovery is very selfish and irresponsible. Even if the valve pops lose it can't go very far and they will eventually find it.


DrDom  (Student)

Feb 24, 2014, 6:21 AM
Post #22 of 24 (2269 views)
Shortcut
Re: [MikeStafford] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

Theres so many variables its tough. Really its about how much pain you have. Maybe try wind tunnel time first; work back into hanging harness, see how your pain is. Go to a rock gym and climb up (test strength) and then let go at the top (can you handle a harness)

Ask yourself how much it will hurt if you hard open. Or have to PLF.

I was trying to find my journal after my surgery, I remember it was 6 months before I went back to weights but was doing cardio before that.

In hindsight, if you were my patient... or if it were me again... I'd probably take at least 6 months off, maybe more.

I feel like that much surgery and recovery... I'd not want to jeopardize it.


SkyCoi  (D 31190)

Apr 14, 2014, 8:04 AM
Post #23 of 24 (1910 views)
Shortcut
Re: [DrDom] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought I would update this post as I just went through a battery of tests after an abnormal echo. As I mentioned in another post, I’m 17 years post-Ross procedure (double valve replacement, homograph pulmonary) with almost no issues to this point (some arrhythmia, minor stamina loss) After a recent physical my PCP encouraged me to get a cardio check-up as it had been over 5 years since my previous echo. So after an Echo w/bubble study, a CT scan with dye study and a TEE procedure the short story is that my aortic valve has dilated to 5.2cm and my pulmonary valve has increased stenosis, which is a condition where the valve has a “kink” in it which restricts blood flow. After reviewing these tests with both my new cardiologist and new surgeon, as well as my original cardiologist and surgeon in Texas, the recommendation is that I do not yet need to redo the surgery and instead we continue to monitor over time for when one or the other condition exceeds the acceptable range. For the aortic valve, that value is 5.6 – 6.2cm, and for the pulmonary it is some metric of blood flow measurement which I don’t recall off the top of my head but haven’t yet reached. Everyone agrees that I will need the surgery again, the question is just when and for now I’m just happy to have a reprieve for some period of time. Could be several years.

Interestingly, I asked each doctor if I could continue to skydive. The youngest and least experienced of all four, my new cardiologist, was an immediate “no” because of the fear of significant impact causing a tear in the dilated aortic valve. It came across as very reactionary, and the guy isn’t great verbally – he struggles to explain things well – but I believe his concern has merit. The other 3, much older and more experienced doctors all said I could continue but to be “careful” to avoid hard impact as there is a danger there. One even made the obvious “hard impact” joke, which I appreciated. I honestly haven’t yet decided if I’ll keep up jumping. Last summer I played much more golf than I jumped out of airplanes anyway, so this summer will tell if I’ve moved on from the sport. Dom – thanks for the support, sorry to disappear for awhile but I wanted to get through these tests so I knew what the real deal was. Blue skies!


tanacreegan

May 9, 2014, 11:50 PM
Post #24 of 24 (1508 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybadiver] Skydiving after open heart surgery [In reply to] Can't Post

 
With the spread of the electronic products,the paper made products have been replaced gradually.The collection of stamps or any other paper made things can be sensible.However the electronic products also have two sides.They can also make people annoyed with the noise pollution.Then to block the signals people choose the [url=http://www.jammerinthebox.com/categories/Cellphone_Signal_Jammer/]cell phone signal jammer to help to create quiet conditions.



Forums : Community : Skydivers with Disabilities

 


Search for (options)