Heart stent & shooting rifles/shotguns??


July 7, 2006, 09:52 PM
I recently had a stent in my right coronary artery & I'm doing great. I had my follow-up yesterday and asked the cardiologist if the shock from shooting high powered rifles or shotguns would be a problem... He said to definately avoid it for 90 more days, then added that no one had ever asked him about that before... He seemed to be concerned, but didn't say I couldn't do it - just that we'll see in 90 days....I suppose his concern is with the recoil or shock experienced when shooting round after round and the potential for stent problems....
Has anyone here had a heart stent and returned to shooting rifles/shotguns? Any problems?

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Bob R
July 7, 2006, 10:01 PM
I have a feeling the doc was just covering his behind. I don't blame him, but, if he had never been asked the question before, does he really know the answer?

You should have gotten a card with the maker of the stent on it. Call them and ask what they think. If they "don't know", press them to find out. It is their product and they should be able to answer the question.

Congrats on avoiding the bypass, and for doing better.

Now you just have to do everthing the doc told you to.


July 7, 2006, 10:03 PM
Try it, if it does you in just have someone let is know so we won't do it. Years back I had a ruptured disc removed. Couldn't wait to go shootn. Fired a SMLE cut down carbine in .308 five times. That set me back a month in recovery. Glad to hear you are doing ok. I definitely shoot low cal for a while.


July 7, 2006, 10:08 PM
Don't know about shooting, but when my Dad got his stent he wasn't to much of anything for a month. His card he got stated NO MRIs for 6 monthes. I'm guessing that is the length of time for them to set.

July 7, 2006, 10:44 PM
Thanks for the great replies...Try it and see...Hmmm... I think I'll pass on that one.... Lo-cal rimfires sound good to me, as I have several... I'll take the advice of Bob R and call the manufacturer....after all, I don't want any FTB
(failure to beat) problems...

July 7, 2006, 11:45 PM
Take it easy on yourself, for sure. Play it safe.:)
This thread may be pertinent to a lot of people, so it may arise from time to time.
Good Luck ( to all of us! )

Steel Talon
July 7, 2006, 11:46 PM
It takes 6 months for the the body to place a covering on the stent further keeping it in place.

Steel Talon:cool:

bigger jon
July 8, 2006, 12:09 AM
A year ago last may i had a stent put in my hart, almost had to have the bipass:eek:
Any way i shoot almost everyday mostly pistol but at least once a week i pull out the 45/70 with full loads:D havent had any problems,,,
Now as for the recovery and the pills they gave me, i gaind 50 pounds in 4 months, i have a broken back and cant work out the way i use to so that didnt help. Best of luck to you Big Jon

Car Knocker
July 8, 2006, 01:22 AM
No problems with my stent.

July 8, 2006, 06:30 AM
My next door neighbor had a heart attack about 2 1/2 months ago and they put in a stint. He was told the same thing. (along with keeping his heart rate down, etc). He was out shooting his rifle for the first time last weekend.


Have a good one,

Dale Taylor
July 8, 2006, 07:31 AM
My cardiologist brother has a stent and shoots pistol and 30-06 BAR. I don't know how long he waited. daleltaylor@att.net

July 8, 2006, 08:40 AM
Personally, I'd go with the Doctor's advice...or get a second opinion from another doctor.

We're all great guys at THR, but no non-medical responder is qualified to answer your question.

If you've got to shoot..maybe stick with .22's for a couple months?

July 8, 2006, 09:58 AM
Only time I've seen first-hand or shot a "hooked" stock was when a Radiologist had a by-pass. Man loved to upland game hunt, and wasn't going to miss a second season.

Hooked stock looks odd. Picture a O/U shotgun stock that ends at the pistol grip...has an extention that goes down UNDER your shoulder and Hooks around to your BACK. Big padded section on the hook. You hook it under your shoulder, with it pressing on the back of your shoulder, and push the gun FORWARD. Leaves a large space between your shoulder and the gun. When the 20ga. recoiled, nothing touched his shoulder at all.

OF course, it leaves your face hanging in the air with nothing to cheek, and that takes a lot of getting use to...but for him (and I tried it myself) it worked.

July 8, 2006, 11:05 AM
I would definetly contact the manufacture and see if they have any information, not only for shooting, which they may not have, but for more shoulder stress related issues, such as light lifting.

It also depends on they type of stent they put in. One that one of my co-workers had put in had razor edges to facilitate keeping the artery open. I don't know if that would make much of a difference, but I wouldn't go shooting any portible howizters for at least 4-6 months.

July 8, 2006, 11:11 AM
VP Cheney has a stent and we all know he was hunting not long ago. I would imagine his doctors know womething about the effects of recoil on stents and felt it was an acceptable risk to let him hunt.

Father Knows Best
July 8, 2006, 02:16 PM
BobR said:You should have gotten a card with the maker of the stent on it. Call them and ask what they think. If they "don't know", press them to find out. It is their product and they should be able to answer the question.

I disagree. I'm in the industry. I used to work for one of the biggest makers of stents and other cardiology, EP and cardiac surgery products, and recently switched jobs to one of its competitors. I can tell you that no one knows what the effects of shooting on recent stent recipients are. The only way to know would be to do a clinical study comparing shooters to non-shooters. Such a study has never been done, and probably will never be done. Anything anyone says about the effects of shooting on recent stent recipients would be pure speculation, so to be on the safe side, follow your doctor's advice and avoid it for a while.

You can say that they "should be able to answer the question", but based on what? There are millions of things we don't know and can never know. The clinical studies that medical devices go through in order to get approved for use in the U.S. already take several years and cost millions and millions of dollars. It is impossible to design and conduct studies that account for and measure every possible variation in patient population and activity. All we can do is study the device safety and efficacy in fairly typical patients, and let medical professionals use their experience and logic to made educated guesses about how those devices might function under other conditions. Most professionals will err on the side of caution when faced with an unknown risk, and that's not a bad idea when the potential consequences are dire.

July 8, 2006, 07:57 PM
:) I have no stents yet, but my concern is my coumadin intake and bruising. My Doc, who IS a shooter, told me to buy a "Kick-Killer" recoil pad to keep the shock to a minimum and then shoot away! He also told me that he has patients who are hunters who have had a pacemaker installed. One of his pre-installation questions about those is; "what shoulder do you fire from?"
He puts pacers on the opposite side from the shooting shoulder and firmly says they will have no problems. I know a stent is no more than a little "Chinese handcuff" type apparatus which is expanded to keep an artery open. And it's sort of in the center of the chest. Again, I'm not a doc of any kind...Just wanted to share what I found out when I asked my doc. Regards.

July 8, 2006, 08:54 PM
Good luck on your recovery. You have a wonderful opportunity here:

1. Humans evolved to live on a hunter-gatherer diet. It's great for the heart, hunter-gatherer tribes have average total cholesterol levels around 120. So now you have a really good reason to go hunting every single week! (Pick a few nuts, berries, and leaves while you're at it).

2. Father Knows Best is totally right. No one is going to do a $100 million controlled study on "trap shooters with stents". So we don't know... maybe it's horribly dangerous to hit yourself with heavy recoil. Thus, it's essential that you acquire a whole battery of low-recoil varmint rifles, tricked-out 10/22s, etc.

You're on to a whole new lifestyle :D

July 8, 2006, 09:34 PM
If the second opinion is ok go and shoot, does that mean a third opinion. . Don't mess with success. My doctor told me when I got my stint that I was starting my second chance at life. DO what the doctor says, you have a lot of time ahead of you. Four years now and still going strong here; knock on wood.

July 8, 2006, 10:22 PM
I had a heart attack 2 years ago. They put 2 stents in me and I'm doing fine. In fact I spent the last weekend shooting skeet.

Exercise and take your meds. You'll be glad you did. Good luck on your recovery. I'm not a doctor but I think eating red meat will be worse for you than shooting will. Either way take the advice of your cardiologist thats what you pay him for.

July 8, 2006, 10:29 PM
Thanks to everyone for their responses.. I surf a lot of forums, but I knew that only THR was the one to post this question in.. I want to thank EVERYONE for their insights, suggestions and well wishes...

I've shot rimfires more than anything else and I'm looking forward to getting back into .22's this fall.... My current stash includes a 1914 octagon barrel Savage pump w/Weaver C-6 scope, Ruger 10-22, High Standard Sentinel MKI revolver, Winchester 250 lever and a CZ-452. All are fun, great shooters...

I feel better than I have in years, and look forward to adding to this collection in the decades to come. Thanks again!

July 9, 2006, 01:01 AM
I noticed in your list of .22s that you don't have a Marlin 39a. This might be a good time to get one. :)

Rich K
July 9, 2006, 06:28 AM
I had 2 stents placed in my right coronary artery 6 years ago, and was back to work the following week. I am a full time Paramedic. Good luck, and no, I haven't had any problems since. I do shoot as often as I have time, which is kind of sporadic since I went back to school, but I shoot trap, as well as rifle and handgun. No problems.

July 9, 2006, 07:56 AM
I had a heart attack and angioplasti at 41, open heart double by-pass at 45, and just had a stent put in the circumflex artery maybe 3 months ago (I'm 55 now). Don't remember for sure. I went in on Friday at 10:30 and got out Saturday at 10:30.

Not shooting didn't even occur to me. IIRC, it was right before turkey season and I use a SP-10 Remington 10 gauge with Hevi-Shot. Guess that would have knocked it loose if it was going anywhere.

FWIW...if you've had heart stuff done, make sure you go back in for a stress test (NOT a regular check-up) at least every 10 years. I was feeling OK and could still take multi-mile walks with my family. My blockage was 95-98%. Doctor said it was probably a matter of weeks, maybe a month or two unless I had the surgery.

Surgery was incredibly simple. About an hour. I'd rather have that than dental work done.

July 9, 2006, 11:23 AM
Like a few of you, I had bypass at 45, with failed grafts requiring stenting at 46.

The issues diiscussed are all valid.

Stents have the highest risk of 'migration' (moving) and "occlusion" (blocking) in the first 6 months of placement. As one writer stated, it takes about six months for the body to 'endothelialize' (cover) the stent so it becomes part of the body (loose logic, but it works)

Start with the .22 and have a blast, but probably better to avoid the 12 guage and .06 for awhile.

It took me two years to comfortably move back up from .223 to .308 and 12 guage, and I pay the price in bruising (from the plavix and aspirin) every time I go, especially when I neglect the browning pad and shooting coat.

RE: Upland/small game. Great exercise, even if you don't shoot. Good rehab! Or chase the dog! Deer hunting is more of a problem in getting back out, or carrying the tree stand (at least for me...I didn't have the greatest recovery of function).

And I find a 'gas gun' much more comfortable to shoot clays, geese, and turkeys with.

You makes your decision, and takes your chances. Live life to it's fullest. None of us know when our ticket will be punched...again. Consider each new day a "bonus" blessing and Enjoy it!

Pacer, (DO)
Medically forced to retire
Board Certified in Emergency Medicine

July 9, 2006, 02:13 PM
That's the best answer I have seen yet. Thank you for it. Hope you have many years of walking and shooting ahead of you.

July 11, 2006, 08:27 AM
Mitral Valve Prolapse is my diagnosis. ( something one is born with ).
Symptoms have progressed quickly within the last year after being diagnosed.

I'm going in for the angiogram TODAY...:eek:

Then we'll know exactly what is needed for open heart surgery within the next few days. :what:

I intend to check back with you! :D

July 11, 2006, 11:46 AM
I'm guessing that is the length of time for them to set.

This is the right anwser. It takes about 90days for the stent to "settle in" after that MRI's and anything else is just fine.

(I'm a Cardiac ICU nurse) A bunch of us at work yesterday where asking the head doc of our big Cardiology group this very question!! We were also thinking that the stents had to be made of a special alloy to be MRI safe. He said no they are stainless steel with a ploymer coating and over that a anti-clot drug coating.

hope this helps. Have fun shooting.

Steel Talon
July 12, 2006, 10:32 AM
Hello Bushmaster007

Hope all turns out well for you!

Steel Talon:cool:

July 12, 2006, 10:03 PM
If possible, can you say who you're with now? Just curious, been doing IR for five years (lots of Cordis peripheral stents), just started EP in our hospital last October. Recently went up to a Medtronic training session in Minneapolis, some pretty good training on ICD systems through them, although we use Guidant for our current pacers and ICDs with the doc we have in our area (North Iowa).

July 13, 2006, 11:19 AM
I had two stents put in the right artery 2 1/2 years ago. I was 90% blocked and on the verge of a major heart attack. It takes a minimum of six weeks for the body to heal and hold the stent with assurance and three months is not too long to wait.

After three months I could shoot anything I wanted, but the blood thinner (Plavix) caused major, major bruising.

I exercised more and went on a more low fat diet and reduced BP and cholesterol to minimum levels in six months. When the heart doctor took me off of Plavix, I was happy and not bruising. I shot anything I wanted as long as I wanted.

One word of warning, after eight months I had to go back in to have a stent reopened by angio(sp?). Scarring closed one stent to about 70% blockage. Four days laters I was back at the range.

Give it the three months, take the meds, exercise and watch your diet. You have a second chance at life. Enjoy!

Gary G23
July 13, 2006, 04:51 PM
Don't know about a stent but when my dad had triple bypass the surgeon told him nothing but a BB gun for one year.

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