Grown ups with congenital heart defects | GUCH

Listen to you heart


As much sport as possible, with the fewest necessary restrictions.

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Sometimes people with a congenital heart defect are advised against doing sports.

For most of us, sport means a better quality of life.

For this reason alone, even adults with congenital heart defects should be encouraged to do sports. Too little exercise can cause motor problems. And especially at a young age, abstaining from sport can even lead to social exclusion. Nevertheless, there are very different attitudes in Europe when it comes to sports for people with congenital heart defects.

Something for everyone

It depends less on the severity of the heart defect and more on the residual postoperative findings as to whether a congenital heart defect is indeed a reason not to exercise. An examination can determine the physical condition of the patient.

Since the diagnosis and the residual postoperative findings differ from person to person, there is no general recommendation for certain types of sport. It is therefore advisable to consult your physician to find out how much exercise is permitted - and which sport is better avoided. In principle, dynamic strains are preferable to static strains.

Restrictions on sport

  • If a particularly severe heart defect is present, sport is completely prohibited, because in this case too much physical activity can be life-threatening. However, such a restriction is only necessary in exceptional cases and should not be imposed out of overcaution. Your cardiologist will decide this together with you.
  • Sometimes sport is only possible to a limited extent because the heart cannot adapt to physical stress. For example, in the case where a drug must be taken to inhibit blood clotting, contact sports, which can sometimes be a little rougher, can be dangerous (e.g. football or martial arts). Patients with a pacemaker should also refrain from extreme stretching exercises. The decision as to whether sporting activities with a congenital heart defect are possible must be made individually with your cardiologist.