Ask the doctor: Is weight lifting safe if I have a stent?

Ask the doctor

Is weight lifting safe if I have a stent?

Q. Although I am only 58 years old, I have had several stents implanted to open some severely blocked coronary arteries. I used to love to lift weights, but stopped after getting the stents. My blood pressure is good, and I take all the usual medications — a statin, Plavix, aspirin, Niaspan, etc. I want to resume my weight lifting but worry that it could shake free a clot and cause a heart attack. Is that possible?

A. I don't think you need to worry about clots coming loose when you work out. The clopidogrel (Plavix) and aspirin you are taking help prevent blood clots from forming in your coronary arteries and within your stents. If you developed a blood clot inside one of your stents, it would block blood flow through the stented artery and cause chest pain (angina) or shortness of breath when you exercised, not come loose and flow downstream.

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