Is it safe to play golf with an ascending aortic aneurysm?
Hi folks! Thanks for stopping by!
I have been working to answer a ‘simple’ question, whether it is safe to play golf with a 4.2 cm. diameter ascending aortic aneurysm, and it’s not so simple.
Since writing this post, I published a detailed approach to determining benefit/risk, for such a question. You want more benefit than risk, that’s for sure!
If you want to return to your sport, safely, with aortic disease.
I need information to help this avid golfer, and owner of the aforementioned aneurysm. He really needed a benefit-risk assessment, which only he can do at the end of the day. I carried out a risk-benefit assessment for my situation, Ironman distance triathlete with an abdominal aortic aneurysm stent graft, and decided to keep on trucking. I’m still training and competing with the help of Rupert, my Cook Zenith stent graft, combined with careful modifications of my training to protect Rupert from undue stress. I started by asking questions, such as: (1) Could I induce metal fatigue in the graft by cycling? (2) Which exercises should I avoid to reduce risk of displacing Rupert? (3) Which exercises induce dangerous lower abdominal pressure? It took a while, and it continues every day, especially when I’m undertaking challenging endurance events. But I’m still an Ironman distance triathlete! So what about the guy who wants to play golf?
Five doctors told him no problem, and another (very reputable) told him definitely “No way!” Which critical questions should he ask of the medical community, body movement experts, and himself, for his assessment of acceptable risk? You can’t just stop living your passion solely based on the recommendations of your doctor! You have to take this advice into account and then decide what is OK with you and those you love, especially when it comes to sports and aneurysms.
Here are some questions that came to mind as we (Rupert and I) were driving back from the Mountains of Misery 100-mile bike ride, with tired but happy legs:
Can one induce dangerous displacement of the aorta during a golf swing, as it is known that movement of the aortic root (near heart) can play a role in dissection.
- What is the mechanism(s) of aortic dissection in an individual with a healthy cardiovascular system (apart from the aneurysm!)? A quick look at the literature provides a bunch of different proposed mechanisms for dissection, but I don’t see any clear answers.
- If the golf swing does induce aortic biomechanical stresses, can the swing be modified to reduce such risks? For instance, I cut out the rowing machine and squats in the gym, so what are the equivalent training modifications for a golfer?
- Have upper aortic biomechanics been examined during the golf swing using advanced techniques, such as cineMRI, with potential insights for our golfer friend?
- I read that weight lifters and golfers are at increased risk of sternal fractures, which is pretty close to the ascending aorta, but does this have relevance to aortic dissection in this site?
- Is there someone out there who really knows the answer, as it could save this guy and his family a great deal of time and heartache, and perhaps his passion, golf (which is number two to his family).
All help would be very much appreciated.
Knowledge provides power over one’s life.