No consensus on exercise levels

I am now thoroughly confused about the restriction on exercise after ablation.  It is obviously a good idea for all patients to exercise as soon as possible to facilitate recovery, but I would like to see more specific guidance on an appropriate level for endurance athletes.  Advice I have been given or found on the net is as follows.

  • OK to get back to normal after a couple of days (Cardiologist)
  • Do nothing for first week, and very little for the second. Take it easy after that, don’t undo all the good work.  (Bob D, Health Unlocked)
  • Do not lift heavy objects, play squash or cycle for 10 days (Hospital discharge leaflet)
  • Give yourself weeks to months to recover. (drjohnm.org)
  • You’re also instructed to take it easy 4-6 weeks after the ablation as the heart is still fairly inflamed. They advise minimal exercise (if any at all) and no hardcore activities. (livingwithatrialfibrillation.com)
  • It usually takes a couple of days for the small holes at the top of the leg to heal. Light exercise can then be resumed. Strenuous exercise is best delayed for a week after the procedure. (totalhealth.co.uk)
  • I recommend Borg’s rating of perceived exertion… In cardiac rehab we recommend beginning with an RPE of “light” to “moderate” (11-12 on the RPE scale). If this feels manageable, then you can graduate to “somewhat hard” to “hard” (13-14) (drbillsukala.com.au)

There appears to be no consensus.  Evidence is hard to pin down; those whose ablations failed may blame excess exercise, but there is no guarantee that this was the cause.  Overall, I prefer Dr Sukula’s thoughts, as the reference to level of exercise gives some semblance of science-based thought and these levels feed me confirmation bias that I have done the right thing.

Just to be sure; its canal banks only for me for the next few weeks.  There is no point in overdoing it at the moment, when I am only 21 days from my post-op review.  There will be plenty of questions to ask then.

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