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Have just been informed I will need open heart/bypass surgery. Was looking for input form forum members who have had this procedure as to how long after surgery were they able to shoot clays again. Thanks for the feedback.
 

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JanD,

I had open heart surgery 3 years ago now, and for me I waited almost 2 years before I started any kind of gunning.
Each individual is different however, and you may heal faster than I did. I was over 70 when I had my open heart surgery, replacing my arteries, I made the mistake of going on a Grouse hunt at about 2 years into my healing process, big mistake on my part, not the shooting, the walking in the snow really had an adverse effect on my healing process, I tiered easily in the first 2 years. IMO Definitely give yourself time to heal, do not rush back into shooting. I am now 3 years into my healing and am finally starting to feel good again. I still take it slow when walking our mountains here in Pa, I want to be able to Grouse hunt for as log as God lets me, so I have learned to judge what I can actually do now.
Good luck with your open heart surgery.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
 
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8 weeks for the sternum to heal. It is very important to do the cardiac rehab. I had mine done 18 months ago. I was 66 when I had the procedure. I was shooting sporting clays casually again in 8 weeks.Walking the course is part of my daily 45 minutes of exercise on those days I shoot. I wear a smart watch to monitor my heart.
 

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I had a valve repaired in March of 2018 at age 76. They did the valve and other work through catheters but because of complications had to finish the job by opening my chest. I started walking in the hospital and light walking right after I got out in IIRC 5-6 days. Walking outside started with 100 yards and by the time I saw the doc in 2 weeks my daily step count was 10,000, albeit not all at once. Went to light cardio rehab after 3 weeks and after 4 weeks could use the rowing machine, etc. I echo the above comment about taking advantage of the cardio rehab program Medicare allows. I went 3 days a week for 10 weeks and in addition walked outside, approximately 10k steps, every day. IIRC I resumed shooting sporting clays and trap with my regular equipment, 1 ounce loads, Beretta 391, in 7-8 weeks. I believe the most important thing is to get and heed good advice from your care team.
 

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I had open heart surgery in 2004 at the tender age of 42...it took quite a while for me to return to shooting as I had to let my body heal...trust me, you will not want to shoot for a while after having the surgery...
 

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I had quadruple bypass at 59. I returned to work teaching in a month, but shooting started in 8 weeks. I was fortunate in that I had a light 28 that I could use at skeet. Pain was very reduced by then, but some lingered for months afterward. A year later it was as if nothing happened. My advice is to be as active as possible, after the first month, even though it might be painful. Work through the pain. The payoff is regaining a normal life afterwards. Obviously, your situation will be your own. Please follow your physician’s advice.
 

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Good luck to you and wishing you a speedy recovery.

Cardiac disease is just ridiculously common in the US. My Dad had a heart attack in 1966 at age 34. The prescription for treatment was 6 weeks of bed rest. He gave up smokes cold turkey. He later had a quadruple in his late 60's and lived to be 80. So far I'm in the clear. Cardiac calcium score of 4. Cholesterol and BP are good and I'm an exercise fiend. Fingers crossed I don't have to deal with that.

I shoulda been a cardiac surgeon. Coulda made a boatload of money.
 

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Never had such surgery and hope I never do. My advice, follow your doctors advice.
Well, generally good advice BUT I'm sure glad I didn't. I was told by my cardio (who I still love, BTW) in July of 2020 (so 2 years ago now) that I needed OH surgery when I could hardly walk half a block one afternoon without feeling like a heart attack was imminent. After imaging he said all three of my major cardiac arteries were badly blocked (which was true). I said I had friends who had had OHS so I knew what was entailed and I would really rather not.

Cardio then said, well then we could try a couple of stents. I told him a good friend had a few weeks before lost the vision in his left eye permanently while getting a stent - a piece of plaque broke off and was carried up to his head. What if that happened to my right eye? Cardio said, yeah, that is very rare (he had seen it happen only one time in 25 years, he said) but it can happen. I believed him, but still . . .

I declined on the stents, too.

So no procedure at all for me, and here we are 25 months later and I have no more chest pain, no shortness of breath and I favorably impressed the cardio with my last treadmill test.

In fact, I was doing TOO well -- I was hiking in June and slipped and fell and wrecked my knee so badly I had to have surgery on it! Surgeon said with proper PT I should be fully recovered in 4 months. What do you know -- just in time for pheasant season. :love:

P.S. I'm listening to the knee surgeon. I'm willing to risk dying but not missing pheasants. ;)
 

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My mom had a severe procedure to treat Left Ventricle Hypertrophic Cardiac Myopathy. They had to go in and cut away excess muscle that was decreasing the volume of the left ventricle. Only a couple places in the US will do this procedure. She was 81 at the time. Her recovery was great. She felt much better afterwards after the pain of the sternum fracture healed. I can't comment on how long she would have had to wait to shoot, but she was up and about and was glad she did the procedure in a couple weeks!
 

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I'm 5-1/2 weeks post op (quintuple bypass) and my doc, who also shoots sporting, isn't budging from his initial instruction of at least 2 months before doing any shooting. And he suggested starting with 28ga for the first few times out.

My regular cardiologist did okay practicing mounts at home as a quasi rehab exercise but he also agreed with the surgeon and his two month minimum. Dang.


On edit - I am getting horny to go shoot until I cough or sneeze and my sternum lets me know that it totally agrees with the doc's!
 

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They are going to wire the sternum back together inside the chest. My ribs were close but not in the same position post op. I had more problems with them blowing out my veins in my arm with the constant blood draws and IV's. Some Dr's don't like you driving post op. The air bag going off into the chest might be a problem while healing in the early stages.
 

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They are going to wire the sternum back together inside the chest.
......Some Dr's don't like you driving post op. The air bag going off into the chest might be a problem while healing in the early stages.
I commented in another thread that not only can I NOT drive for 2 months, to avoid any chance of tangling with an airbag I have to ride in the back seat....with my wife driving!!
 

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Had a valve replaced and one by pass two years ago at age 75. Released from hospital Christmas eve was back to shooting in 90 days. As surgeries go it was not a real painful surgery. But since I shoot left handed my gun mount is very close to the incision. Your body will tell you when, if it feels uncomfortable it is too early.
Buster
 

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I had Triple by-pass done in 1999. I did the cardiac REHAB. I was off work for 3 months.
I have a Beretta 390, 20 ga, and I was shooting clays 4 1/2 months later. When I got stronger I used my 12 ga. 687 Beretta. Just go slow at first and do the Rehab. LOL
 

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They are going to wire the sternum back together inside the chest. My ribs were close but not in the same position post op. I had more problems with them blowing out my veins in my arm with the constant blood draws and IV's. Some Dr's don't like you driving post op. The air bag going off into the chest might be a problem while healing in the early stages.
When my friend had emergency surgery for a heart attack at Nationals, he spent a long time in San Antonio. They had split his sternum and installed plates, screws, etc. it was quite a while before shooting was viable

Talk to your doctor, explain what you're wanting to do and FOLLOW HIS ADVICE, NOT OURS
 

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I had a Mitral Valve Repair and a Triple Bypass on Oct 9, 2018. In my case Open Heart means the heart was actually cut open. Lot's of nerve pathways cut and my heart had to relearn how to beat properly. Spent 36 hours in the Cardiac ICU in Afib. At the time of the surgery I was 63 years old and had a 3 year habit of daily exercise that probably prevented a Heart Attack, the LAD was 80% blocked.

Recovery. I was shocked at how weak I was after the surgery. Because prior to the surgery I was pretty fit for a 63 year old ex smoker, my VO2Max was 44 at that time. After the surgery walking just 50 feet was all I could manage on the first day I was allowed to walk. Spent 8 Days in the Recovery center before I was released to go home and you weren't released until you demonstrated good physical competance, meaning could you climb stairs.. In regards to exercise I was told that walking was OK but I was NOT to try and test my limits, at the earliest sign of fatigue I was to turn around and head home. It took me a week to work up to walking a mile and after that I started making real gains, after two weeks I was doing 3 mile walks. Four weeks after the surgery I did the Cardiac Rehab, which is basically treadmill, elliptical, or bycycle work to a specific heart rate and defined time. During each workout I was wearing an 8 lead portable EKG linked to monitors at the nurses station. If you let your heart rate get too high you heard about it, if you were slacking off you were asked to push a bit harder. I did 2 weeks of Rehab and was released to go home.

Landmarks, It was 4 weeks before I was released to drive my car and I was told if I got in any type of accident I had to insist in emergency transport to the nearest ER. The next milestone was going back to work, that happened 5 weeks after the surgery. The concern was potential damage to the Sternum, you do NOT want to re-break that healing Sternum. Two months after the surgery I rewarded myself for surviving Open Heart Surgery by purchasing myself a Beretta 686 Solver Pigeon I Sporting. Still shoot with that gun but it's now wearing an adjustable 682 Gold E stock. Shooting a shotgun was not permitted until 6 months after the surgery, my doctors want to be absolutely certain my Sternum was 100% healed before firing a shotgun. BTW I started doing practice mounts after Christmas.

Note, this surgery was the second time I've had my chest cracked. First time was when I was 13 and it was to correct a deviated Sternum. When you have a growth spurt that has you gain 5 inches in 3 months things can go a bit haywire. The first time I was fearful of my chest pain and tried to avoid the breathing exercises I was supposed to be doing. End up with too much fluid in my lungs and then had to undergo mechanical breathing therapy, which is quite painful. Second time around I was enthusiastic about doing my chest exercises and asked they double the inhaler therapy to help keep my lungs clear. As a result my longs stayed good and clear throughout my recovery form the heart surgery. When you are told to cough for the doctor take a deep breath and cough good and hard. It will be a bit painful but you won't bust any stitches and it will help get you started down the correct path. It is critical to keep you lungs clear and that means that you MUST cough when you need to clear your lungs. When they offer the inhaler once a day ask for the treatment twice a day, it willl help keep you from waking up in the middle of the night with a coughing fit, If they don't give you a Cough Pillow, ask for one. Coughing with a pillow held tight to the chest is a lot less painful that doing without. Mine looks like a teddy bear and I still have it. Fail to keep your lungs clear and you will pay a price for it and it will be a lot worse than making the effort to clear your lungs from the start

Finally a regular routine of exercise will speed your progress towards shooting again and long term make shooting easier. You don't have to go out and run marathons, they are actually bad for the heart. However moderate exercise is absolutely glorious for the heart and it's very easy to do. Simply make it a habit to set aside 45 minutes per day and go out for a 3 mile waks at a pace that you are comfortable with but does have you working up a bit of a seat.
 

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At age 59 I had a septal myecktomy which is treatment for a seriously enlarged heart. I had that along with debilitating afib. I appeared strong and fit on the outside but had no endurance and got winded walking on the level, right before the afib would begin. I was referred to Cleveland Clinic Florida and in a right time, right place circumstance met up with the surgeon who performs more myecktomy procedures than anyone else. His first reaction to me was “Why are you here, you can’t be that ill”. After looking at a recording of my latest heart cath he briefly left the room and returned with another doctor. “You’re on the list for a week from Friday. Be prepared to stay 5-6 days with us and then begin therapy. We’ll fix your heart and your a fib as well.”. Afib was fixed with a Maze procedure which involves cutting off the nerves which signal the electrical response that causes rapid unsteady heart beats. Sounds drastic but it worked. Today at age 68 no heart problems or a fib. More energy and endurance than I had in my 40’s. My recovery on the other hand was very difficult. I was in an induced coma for 10 days and cardiac icu for another 5 days after waking up. Had my own personal crash cart beside me throughout. Got an internal pacemaker/defibulator as a cautionary measure (it has rarely activated and never shocked me). Now on my ninth year of a seven year battery with 2+ years left. Had to relearn to use my arms and relearn how to balance and walk again. Total hospital stay was 28 days. SS granted full disability and Fla. teacher retirement granted full disability retirement. I would have gone back to work willingly, but decided not to question their wisdom because if I worked another six years I would receive the same benefits they just gave me and the doctors agreed that it was time to enjoy an unpressurized life which I certainly do. I waited 9 months until I was told to do whatever I felt like and then specifically got clearance to shoot, fish and launch the boat. After another two months I did all three with no problems. I had an uncle who died at age 43 of the same problem in 1961 after being given no hope of recovery and am thankful every day for the medical advances that are permitting me to enjoy a full life and likely a normal life expectancy. I have had attitude changes about what is important to me because stress and high blood pressure were the root of my problems. I don’t shoot or fish near as much as I once did, not because I can’t but because spending time with family is more important now. I think everyone is different and when you return to normal activity is between you, your doctor and your family. If you pay attention you will likely know when the time to resume is right.
By the way, Scooter my cough pillow is a big replica heart. It came with a sharpie and all the doctors, nurses, therapists and even housekeepers that I came in contact with signed it. Quite the souvenir of my ordeal.
 
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