PFO closure and recovery information

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upanatom
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 1/27/2008 11:17 AM (GMT -6)   
No headaches. I began to feel some "pressure" or "stiffness" in my chest after the first week, which my doc said is normal as the heart stretches and adapts to its new "roommate". At 1.5 weeks I went into a-fib and ended up back in the hospital however.

My internet research mentioned a study with ~5% of PFO closures having some type of heart beat irregularity as part of the healing. I'm on a beta blocker now so that makes doing aerobics confusing as they suppress the heartbeat.

Wildfire27
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 1/28/2008 12:32 PM (GMT -6)   

Upanatum,

Thanks for the info. I'm feeling great. They've got me on blood thinners for 6 months. I don't have any discomfort as of yet. Hopefully your a fib is done with and you're back on the road to recovery. Thanks again

 

Wildfire27


jaimwa
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/24/2008 7:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Guys

I totally new here - 1st post!

I had a mild stroke in October 07 causing me an INO which resolved fully after about a month.

Just had a PFO closure done there on Thursday. No Ill effects so far. Feel great. On Plavix for 1 month and Aspirin 75mg for the future.

It was carried out in London by the foremost expert in the UK - he did 4 the morning I got mine done! He used the atriasept device http://www.cardiainc.com/products/products-pfo2.html (WFS) for me which I was pleased about as it is more bio-absorbable than the amplatzer as it has way less metal in it (I read up a lot on devices before I met the surgeon and really quizzed him on different ones). He said it went extremely well and he got a really tight and flush closure.

I don't feel like there is anything inside me at all. In fact I feel no different at all, apart from relief that it's over and peace of mind that my stroke occurrence is a lot less likely. Oh I must say my throat is sore - it's black and blue from the TEE - but getting better by the day.

I am a gym freak and play a lot of sport - well I did before the stroke and can't wait to get back to it. The advice I received advice was to not lift anything for the first week or so and not to play contact sports for 4 weeks. So fingers crossed I will be back at it in a month! Does this seem too short a time to anyone?

I have a follow up scan in 3 months.

Thanks in advance for any replies!

upanatom
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/25/2008 4:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Good to hear you fell well about the PFO closure. A black and blue throat sounds a bit rough however. The TEE shouldn't cause more than a minor irritation. I've had two done and that's all I've ever felt. Maybe they need to knock you out more next time?

Take it easy getting back into activity. This is your heart, not your elbow. Its in there beating all the time.

It takes about 6 weeks to heal to an 85% level. This is true in surgeries in general, not just PFO closures. If you're mathematically inclined plot 1-exp(-x) to get an idea.

That's the beauty of the body's healing process. It really does go pretty quickly at first but then the last 10-15% take a long time.


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PFOgirl24
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/29/2008 1:59 PM (GMT -6)   
I had a PFO closure on Feb 8th 2007 & i've been having heart pains that feel like something is stabbing my heart ever since. They come on fast & stop after i take a few deep breaths. I've asked my surgeon about the pains & he cannot find anything wrong. Does anyone have any idea what this is?

upanatom
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 4/30/2008 9:26 AM (GMT -6)   
No idea at all. 15 months after closure and you still have the problem? Have you talked to the doc about allergies/reactions to the type of material used in the closure device????

PFOgirl24
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/30/2008 10:21 AM (GMT -6)   
I actually do have a metal allergy, but he used an CardioSeal Septal occular implant that is supposed to use less metal, therefore minimizing the risk of a reaction. I never thought about a reaction. Thanks!

upanatom
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 4/30/2008 12:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Glad to help out if possible. Get better and be well!

MigrainesForLife
New Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/5/2008 1:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone! I am a 26 yr old male and was diagnosed with a large (At rest: 3/5 rating; Bearing down: 5+/5 rating) PFO a couple of weeks ago. That means that an awful lot of bubbles get to my brain most of the time. I am scheduled to have the closure surgery on May 15, 2008 and am real freaked out about it, but all of your posts have helped me some, so thanks!

A little background on me, I have had headaches/migraines all my life. I can't really remember a time that I didn't. I get dizzy/light-headed frequently and my vision changes frequently. I really hope this procedure helps.

When the diagnosis happened, the doctor immediately put me on 325mg asprin every day. I have stomach (IBS) problems and so this hasn't been easy, but I have held with it. Is there anything that anyone would suggest to help me prepare for the procedure?

Thanks!

Post Edited (MigrainesForLife) : 5/5/2008 1:54:12 PM (GMT-6)


omya
New Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/22/2008 3:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there
thank you for having such an informative post,and wishing you all good health and speedy recovery.
My husband had a TIA October 06, was diagnosed with PFO (they say it's not big!)..they're suggesting transcatheter closure..
I know that nobody knows the future, but in a brief comment, on the long run, do you think it's better to have it done regarding the side effects of the presence of the  device in the heart.
Thank you for your replies and help, the procedure is planned for 5th of June, so please reply as soon as you can.
thanks

s2k
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 11/10/2008 2:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, in May 2008 I had a large PFO closure, 22mm....The PFO was discovered because I am a scuba diver and noticed that I was getting some chest pain and blue lips, also very clumsy. When I had the operation I could not believe how painful it was, it took about a month before I felt okay again....Then 2 months after I started to get chest pains again, sharp pain. The doctor put me on beta blockers as well as the plavex and aspirin I am already on. I had my 1st eco bubble test in July and was told the procedure had not been 100% successful; it closes at rest but not under exercise. I have just been to my second eco bubble test and same problem, still not 100% successful....I now have pains in my legs and still get some chest pains, not as bad since being on the beta blockers. I am seeing my surgeon next week to find out more and what’s next for me.....Has anyone else been through a similar experience?

Good points, no more migraines and not so clumsy....plus my complexion is much better....


KP

s2k
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 11/11/2008 12:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Had my PFO closue done in May 08, large PFO 22mm, bad news is its not fully sealed.....I have some good points, the migraines have stopped but I now have chest pains and achy legs....

S2k

IraqMigraine
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/17/2008 12:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I have a couple of questions.  I was in Iraq and had something like what I would imagine was a stroke.  I felt my arm go numb and my face drooped and was unresponsponsive.  I was medevaced out and diagnosed with a migraine headache.  A large PFO was found.  I am not military.  Does insurance cover this procedure.  My city is very small and has a very limited number of neurologists.  My arms keep going numb and my face keeps going numb.  I have severe headaches.  I went to the ER and was diagnosed again with a hemiplegic migraine and given Topomax which hasn't helped and I'm still having severe numbness and tingling on one side of my body and face and still the headaches.  I don't know what to do but the more I read about PFO's the more I think it might have been a stroke and the more I think it might be a series of mini-strokes.  I can't get an appointment for 5 to 6 months with a neuro but I can get an appointment with a cardiologist within the month.  What are the criteria for getting this thing closed?  I've never had a migraine in my life.  I've always been exceptionally healthy!  Does anyone have any advice?  Please help as I have nowhere else to turn. 

greenhope
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 113
   Posted 11/28/2008 2:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, IraqMigraine and welcome to the forum! I just saw your post. We have a very active thread regarding PFO's in this forum under "Heart & Cardiovascular Diseases." The thread is called "PFO Closure - open Heart or Transcatherer 3." Many of us have posted lots of useful info. on that thread and the 2 previous ones.

It sounds to me as if your situation could be potentially serious. Make the appt. with the neurologist, but go see the cardiologist first since this is the first appointment you can get. For the neurologist, let them know you think you may have had a stroke and maybe they can schedule you earlier - try and make them "feel" the seriousness of your situation. Make sure you see a cardiologist that knows how to do PFO closures - many of them don't! I made that mistake. Also, through the cardio's office you may be able to get an appt. w/the neuro sooner because he is recommendng that you see one - the cardio office staff may be able to make the appt. to the neuro for you.

Good luck to you in making your decisions and I hope you will keep us posted.

greenhope

rf1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 1/7/2009 9:11 AM (GMT -6)   
I had my PFO closure on 6/28/08, and after 6 mos. my bubble test still showed a opening and not much change in the amt. of bubbles that passed thru at the 1 mo bubble. What does your doctors reccomend? are you taking 81mg asprin and plavix? rf1
s2k said...
Had my PFO closue done in May 08, large PFO 22mm, bad news is its not fully sealed.....I have some good points, the migraines have stopped but I now have chest pains and achy legs....

S2k

rf1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 1/7/2009 9:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi s2k, my pfo closure 6 mos ago was not 100% succesful either! My cardiologist is consulting w/ neuro & surgent but thinks we should give it another 6 mos and reevaluate then. Has anyone had a PFO closure that took a year to seal over completley? What did your doctors say? What medicines are you on? Thanks rf1
s2k said...
Hi, in May 2008 I had a large PFO closure, 22mm....The PFO was discovered because I am a scuba diver and noticed that I was getting some chest pain and blue lips, also very clumsy. When I had the operation I could not believe how painful it was, it took about a month before I felt okay again....Then 2 months after I started to get chest pains again, sharp pain. The doctor put me on beta blockers as well as the plavex and aspirin I am already on. I had my 1st eco bubble test in July and was told the procedure had not been 100% successful; it closes at rest but not under exercise. I have just been to my second eco bubble test and same problem, still not 100% successful....I now have pains in my legs and still get some chest pains, not as bad since being on the beta blockers. I am seeing my surgeon next week to find out more and what’s next for me.....Has anyone else been through a similar experience?

Good points, no more migraines and not so clumsy....plus my complexion is much better....


KP

lloyd0307
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/11/2009 5:56 PM (GMT -6)   
I was diagnosed with a PFO about a year ago,  and with migraines for about the last 30 years the doctors have decided that I have tried just about everything, so they said that they will close the PFO.  My question is about the medications that I am currently taking.  Do I continue to take them? they were meant at migraine preventative  . . . like 100 mg of Topomax.  Should I continue taking that? or work my way off of it?   How long of a recovery time is the PFO Closure Surgery? How long can I expect to be out of work? How long until 100% activity? I am anxious to regain my activity level and lose some of the weight I have gained throughout the last couple of years.

rf1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 1/11/2009 6:47 PM (GMT -6)   
S2k- Sorry to hear yours was not 100% succesful either. My doctors are wanting to wait a year and see. On this site others are waiting till the 1 year echo for those results as well. On this blog others have also said that their echo technition said that it can take up to 1 year to close, and to be patient. I am hoping for that, and I will pray for you too!
I don't get any leg pains other than when I had the surgery. I did get what is called an av fistula ( when the veins & arteries become intermixed by mistake when they go in) but thay often resolve on their own, as my did in about 3 mos ( I had my pfo closure june 2008). If you are having leg pain still I would discuss w/ your doctor, if you have not already, and maybe ask for an ultrasound of your legs/groin area. I don't think the surgery or the opening should cause leg pain? Good luck at your doctors visit. keep us posted , as to their thoughts.
RF1

cattledog
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/15/2009 12:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello everybody.  I am new to this forum, but am thankful there is something out there that seems like it can be of help.  I didn't think I would have a lengthy recovery, but it seems to be that way and I'm trying to find out if there is a period of time that I should consider, instead of the 2 weeks that my doctor told me were all that were needed for a complete recover so I can go back to work in construction.
I was 30 years old this last October 2008 when I had a full-on heart attack.  It was a process of elimination that revealed a PFO issue.  I ended up going to UCLA and having the procedure done by a professor at the university on December 3rd, 2008 and it's been an experience.  I feel like things got better in some regards, but then I had other types of pain after the procedure.  Though I feel like the pain isn't as bad as it was right after the procedure, it's been around 6 weeks since the procedure and I've had a couple of seconds long sharp stabbing pain periods, low aching daily, the heart feeling like it's going to pound out of my chest a couple of times, a weird feeling in the center of my chest that I can't explain except for those who have ran and after a long, fast run, you find your lungs burning...sorta like that, and overall aching if I do too much physical exertion, even yard work. 
I have a TEE on the 27th of January, 2009, and am hoping things are healing well, but must admit that I am concerned by the aching in my arm and heart area at times, that this isn't normal and something is wrong.  Perhaps it's just fear, since every little ache after my heart attack caused me to fear for my life, like "the big one" was going to happen and my wife and 5 children would be without me permanently.
I just want to carry on with my life, but it seems to be dragging on as if this PFO recovery is supposed to be long and drawn out.
Sorry to ramble, but I'm not sure what to think, what to expect, and even what to ask my doctor when I go there in less than 2 weeks.  He hasn't returned my calls or e-mails and I feel like they actually think I'm making up the pain and/or concerns.  Anything would help.  Thank you.

cattledog
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/15/2009 12:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Also, is there a medicine that I should be on besides aspirin? The doctor took me off plavix and metoperol after 1 months of the surgery. I also have vicodin for pain.
Anything would help. Thank you.

rf1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 1/15/2009 10:09 AM (GMT -6)   

cattledog- sorry to hear all that you have been through. I to had a PFO closure after multiple strokes ( at 35 years old) at the same time that left me without feeling in my arms, speechless and memory loss that has since resolved ( thank God) All that we have gone through has made us anxious with good reason, but your doctors should never not answer your calls or make you feel your not getting the answers you deserve!. My recovery was complicated and I spent 5 days in hospital, but I never had any pain around my heart. It is normal for the first few days to experience heart flutters as the device gets adjusted. My heart rate was also elevated, but resolved after a few days. Some people on this blog have been treated with a beta blocker for this? The only pain I had was in my legs from the surgery and weakness ( I had a bleed after the cath.) I can say that it took me about 2.5 mos to feel my normal self, but no pain.

I was told to not lift anything more than a gallon of milk for 8 weeks, do not do any thing that would cause you to strain alot, and light exersize such as walking only. I am taking 81 mg of asprin , plavix and a statin ( cholesterol med). Was told to take plavix x 6 mos or until the bubble test indicated the PFO was closed all others for life & asprin would be bumped up to 325mg at that time. I think you need to address these issues sooner than your appt with your cardiologist, if you are have pain and funny heart stuff or atleast tell your primary and get an ekg. I am a nurse, so I do have some clinical background, but your doctor knows you best. If you don't feel right you need to find the answers for you and your family. Good luck! Let me know how you make out.

P.S. was your PFO closed with a device? if so what type?

RF1

cattledog said...
Hello everybody.  I am new to this forum, but am thankful there is something out there that seems like it can be of help.  I didn't think I would have a lengthy recovery, but it seems to be that way and I'm trying to find out if there is a period of time that I should consider, instead of the 2 weeks that my doctor told me were all that were needed for a complete recover so I can go back to work in construction.
I was 30 years old this last October 2008 when I had a full-on heart attack.  It was a process of elimination that revealed a PFO issue.  I ended up going to UCLA and having the procedure done by a professor at the university on December 3rd, 2008 and it's been an experience.  I feel like things got better in some regards, but then I had other types of pain after the procedure.  Though I feel like the pain isn't as bad as it was right after the procedure, it's been around 6 weeks since the procedure and I've had a couple of seconds long sharp stabbing pain periods, low aching daily, the heart feeling like it's going to pound out of my chest a couple of times, a weird feeling in the center of my chest that I can't explain except for those who have ran and after a long, fast run, you find your lungs burning...sorta like that, and overall aching if I do too much physical exertion, even yard work. 
I have a TEE on the 27th of January, 2009, and am hoping things are healing well, but must admit that I am concerned by the aching in my arm and heart area at times, that this isn't normal and something is wrong.  Perhaps it's just fear, since every little ache after my heart attack caused me to fear for my life, like "the big one" was going to happen and my wife and 5 children would be without me permanently.
I just want to carry on with my life, but it seems to be dragging on as if this PFO recovery is supposed to be long and drawn out.
Sorry to ramble, but I'm not sure what to think, what to expect, and even what to ask my doctor when I go there in less than 2 weeks.  He hasn't returned my calls or e-mails and I feel like they actually think I'm making up the pain and/or concerns.  Anything would help.  Thank you.

cattledog
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/15/2009 4:53 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm going to my primary on Saturday, so that should help to some degree to feel heard and taken care of.  As for a device, yes, I had a Helex Septal Occluder, Catalogue Number HX1520 put in me through the groin.  I was only told to not lift anything more than a gallon of milk for 2 weeks, and I was also told I could return to construction after 2 weeks, even though I didn't and haven't; only light electrical work.  Perhaps I was allowed to do things too soon and it is hindering my recovery?
 

rf1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 1/16/2009 7:37 AM (GMT -6)   

Cattledog - I'm glad to hear you are going sooner. Make sure you are heard! It takes time to heal emotionally & physicaly. I could not have even have imagined going to work, especially in construction just after 2 weeks. I'm glad you listened to your body and did'nt push yourself. By the way, did your bubble study indicate that your PFO had closed completley? It has been 6 mos for me and it is still not closed all the way. Good luck Saturday.

RF1

cattledog said...
I'm going to my primary on Saturday, so that should help to some degree to feel heard and taken care of.  As for a device, yes, I had a Helex Septal Occluder, Catalogue Number HX1520 put in me through the groin.  I was only told to not lift anything more than a gallon of milk for 2 weeks, and I was also told I could return to construction after 2 weeks, even though I didn't and haven't; only light electrical work.  Perhaps I was allowed to do things too soon and it is hindering my recovery?
 

rf1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 1/16/2009 7:44 AM (GMT -6)   

S2k- Have you seen your surgent yet? What did he/she say they would reccomend you do with regard to the PFO still not being closed?

RF1

s2k said...
Had my PFO closue done in May 08, large PFO 22mm, bad news is its not fully sealed.....I have some good points, the migraines have stopped but I now have chest pains and achy legs....

S2k

cattledog
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/16/2009 9:31 AM (GMT -6)   

RF1, I haven't had any bubble tests since the procedure.  I think they did one during the procedure (before & after the installation), and I believe I recall them saying that there were positive results, but I was under the assumption that they would do another bubble check down the road. 

 

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