Sunday, 1 April 2007

Heart to heart

The good news is that I passed the treadmill test. No signs of any heart disease under stress. For those of you interested in such things the test consisted of 3 minute stages at gradually increasing speeds and inclines with the 7th and last stage being 10mph on a 22%(!) incline. Needless to say I didn't make it that far. I got to stage 5 (just), 5mph @ 18%. Not bad as I'm still training at 5mph @ 15% on my own treadmill and I don't usually run with 12 leads dangling from my chest and a blood pressure collar attached to my arm (my blood pressure was perfect by the way) .

Anyway, here's the bad news. They want to give me a pacemaker. Not the sort that runs in front of you in a race, the sort that looks like a metal matchbox and fits under the skin in your chest. The 3-day monitor I wore last week showed them some scary results. Remember, I had food poisoning that weekend. In the cold light of day I can see why they are worried. The doctor said that my heart rate was in the 20's during the day (I'm not surprised as I was asleep during the day) and that in one instance it didn't beat for nearly five seconds (which just happened to coincide with the lowest point in my food poisoning episode).

Overall, he is worried that I have bradycardia (very slow heart rate) and that the danger is that I blackout especially while driving. My response is that my low heart rate is exercise induced (my resting rate decreased in direct proportion to the amount of training I was doing), I don't have dizzy spells or feelings of weakness (indications of bradycardia) and that the 3-day recording should be discounted because of the exceptional circumstances. He said he would consult his boss but in the meantime I had to inform the DVLA as they might want to suspend my licence!

So, the position is that I phoned the DVLA and they are not interested (indeed were almost dismissive) and that the consultant has agreed to a retest. They are going to do a 7-day monitoring. If that shows anything to worry about then I don't think I have any choice but to agree to the pacemaker. If it doesn't, then I'm going to refuse to have it fitted.

As regards the running, I've been out twice in the last two days and it's been great. No problems with calf or heart. Even if I have a pacemaker fitted I'm still going to run and still going to do the Jungfrau.

How can running up a hill become so complicated? Stay tuned dear reader.......


Ian said...

Didn't make the last level? Shame on you even I managed that and I'm an hypocondriac

Mick said...

Ian. If you can run half a mile non-stop at 6 minute mile pace on a 22% incline I'll give you a £100.