The symptoms of ASD and PFO (you can google) become worse in the 4th decade of life. 30% of the population has an ASD or PFO and 50% of chronic migraine sufferers have it.
I chose the repair that was done via cath lab (not open heart surgery) and from the day I had it done I haven't had another migraine. All these people having migraines everyday would be begging their Drs to check them for this. It was a very mild procedure I was fully awake while they did it and I had no discomfort at all. The reward of no more migraines was worth it.
Flicka: Again, you've made your point about
PFO--you've made a lot of repeat posts.
More importantly I want to point out a few things you said might be misunderstood.
1) The percentage of the general population with PFO has been estimated to be between 10 and 20% (slightly higher in the US). It is true that migraine sufferers are more likely than the general population to have ASD or PFO. However, this is population is made up mostly of migraineurs who experience aura. Those with migraines without aura have shown a significantly lesser incidence of ASD/PFO than those who do not experience aura. In fact, the increased incidence of this condition in migraineurs without aura may only be because of the discrepancy of how frequently the general population is screened versus how frequently migraine sufferers are.
2) While the incidence of ASD/PFO in migraineurs with aura may be higher than usual this does not mean that these heart defects actually cause
migraines. The heart defect may share a common cause with migraines, or even in some way caused by neurological problems. More significantly, even though migraineurs are more likely to have PFO or ASD, studies have not shown that repairing the defect is more likely to relieve migraine symptoms than treatment with placebo.
As we've seen however, there are have been many successes with this treatment, so it is indeed worth looking into, particularly if you experience aura. But, even if the heart defect is found, most specialists are unlikely to recommend surgery unless there is a compelling reason to believe that the patient is particularly likely to benefit.
3) This is because the surgery is
quite invasive. The procedure is almost always done via catheter,
open-heart repair for this type of defect is extremely uncommon. Despite the contrast to
open heart surgery, patching with a catheter is still quite invasive. It is threaded up to the heart through a large vein in the groin. While it's true that the procedure itself is not necessarily painful, the recovery process usually is. Quite literally, the patient must recover from heart surgery. This entails a period of several weeks of convalescence and typically a lot of pain and chest discomfort. I don't mean to imply that the possible reward may not be worth the risk (or "cost"). But everyone should know that it is not
a "mild procedure".
So, by all means, those who haven't had much luck with other treatments should have a conversation with their neurologists about
PFO/ASD treatment. But even for the toughest patients the recommendation will often be to not have it done.I do hope this proves to be a treatment that can help people but, for the time being, it's important to know that its efficacy is very much unproven.