Iliac Artery Stent Thoughts On The Bike

Do You Have An Iliac Artery Stent?

Iliac Artery Stent

Image and copyright purchased from ShutterStock

A little Anatomy training could be helpful.

Iliac artery stent:

In the image above, identify your aorta, and the common iliac, internal iliac (hypogastric), external iliac and femoral arteries. Imagine where your stent might be. Ask your doctor for a copy of your scan; it’s your property. Understanding your body and your stent might just save your life one day.

Here’s my common, internal and external iliac stent complex (three, in fact). The original Cook Zenith Stent Graft, in 2010.

aging awareness day

Can you see the Cook Zenith original stent, and the stent in the branches of the internal and external iliac arteries? It’s not magic. It’s just anatomy. 

One in 2013, due to an unavoidable bike wreck (unless I stayed at home in a lazy boy; bad idea with aortic disease).

The other in 2017, due to a kinked stent extension, blocking and clotting my common iliac artery completely closed (no pulse but I still have my leg. Why? Collateral circulation, built up over a life-time of exercise; see image at the bottom of the post). There’s a third stent, inside the common iliac, keeping it open and stabilizing the link between the Cook Zenith and the stent extension, thanks to Mark Farber and his great team at UNC CH.

When I discussed cycling after the 2017 repair, Mark agreed that I should minimize hip flexion on the bike (no more aerobars!).

As I swim, bike and run, I think about these remarkable devices, and how not to mess with them.

Today I was riding the trainer bike, and had a thought, but on reflection it may be incorrect. Watch this short video and think about what I’m saying.

Should I rotate my pelvis along with my legs, to minimize movement around the hip joint. This will result in movement around the region of the sacroiliac joint, exactly where my stent machinery is situated.


Should I keep my pelvis stable (how I normally ride), and rely on the flexibility of my femoral arteries to minimize stent movement, and potential dislocation? I think this is the correct answer! You?

Like the famous Ginsu Knife, there’s more.

Interaction with muscle groups.

Should I minimize use of my gluts, so as to reduce jiggling of the internal iliac extension. Too much movement could disturb it’s link to the common iliac extension fenestration (window).


Sit back in a lazy boy recliner, with a book in one hand and a whisky recommended by that great man, Andrew Weil in the other?

I sure wouldn’t use that recliner, it could trigger my NFP (‘plantar fasciitis’) issue, as Tom’s research has shown.

Need to think about that, too!

iliac artery stent

Think about the relation of your stent to both soft and hard (bones, ligaments, tendons and joints) tissues. Image by Mikael Häggström.

My choice: to keep right on thinking and training. It doesn’t matter so much whether I’m right or wrong, as long as I do the best I can to work out what is safe. Each body is different; for instance, I have a short left common iliac artery (1.5 cm.)

A life without risk is no life at all.

Oh Yes! See if you can persuade your doctor to put this picture on his office wall, please:

iliac artery stent

Grey is muscle, white is fat, clear ring around the central white spot (bone marrow) is the femoral bone.


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.