PFO closure and recovery information

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rf1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 1/16/2009 8:42 AM (GMT -7)   

cattledog- was just curious. Seems some people are saying that theirs have not closed as planned. At least with yours, it sounds like it did, and that should give you a little less worry. Best to you.

RF1

cattledog said...

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. 

 



01IRISH
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/29/2009 8:01 AM (GMT -7)   
I have only had 1 bubble test ,but it and the tee are the most accurate in observing full closure of the pfo. my doctor insists that an echo is good enough, I totally disagree!!

grs1
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/3/2009 7:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Cattledog- I had a PFO closure a little bit more than a month ago. After the procedure I was feeling sort of the same symptoms you mentioned in your first post ["long sharp stabbing pain periods, low aching daily, ..., 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 had my follow up visit with my cardiologist last week. After a normal electrocardiogram and ecocardiogram and a physical examination, the explanation/cause for the chest pain was that I had costochondritis, a condition that causes chest pain due to inflammation of the cartilage and bones in the chest wall. The doctor explained that a sharp, stabbing pain could never come from the heart. I hope this helps and you can rule out further heart complications.
Best of luck!

withnail1969
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 3/9/2009 3:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello I'm new here and getting nervous!
I'm 39 year old mum with 2 young children, I had a mild stroke in June 08. I've been diagnosed with a PFO and decided to go for the closure option as I've had trouble with warfarin (high INRs and bleeding). I saw my neuro last week who made me anxious about the risk of stroke during the procedure and that it might not help my symptoms (palps, mild breathlessness, always cold and tired). I keep being told it's my choice and I just feel like I'm having a wobble about whether closure is the right thing for me..... I don't want to take a risk but I guess everything is a risk.

tysmyboo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 921
   Posted 3/11/2009 1:43 AM (GMT -7)   

withnail1969-

Welcome!!! I hate to hear that you have not received clear concise information to help you make your choice. I personally went in for PFO tests and did not have it, so unfortunately I dont have personal experience with closure and the following recovery.

My suggestion would be to speak to your healthcare provider, they need to give you all the necessary information for you to make an INFORMED decision and to feel secure in what you decide to do.

I hope that helps some.

Please let us know how things go!!

 


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Refman
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/13/2009 8:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Like many of you, I had a stroke and was subsequently diagnosed with a PFO. My stroke was the day before my 40th birthday. I have had very little carry over from my stroke. I lost the upper left quadrant of my vision for about a week. My MRI showed that my brain was damaged where my optic nerve passes through causing the loss of vision. The neurologist said that I was lucky in that the part of my brain that was damaged is a part I rarely use. Of course, this was good fodder for all of my friends to use to harrass me. It's almost two months later now and all feeling and vision has returned and most people are shocked to hear I had a stroke. I am so thankful for modern medicine, but never doubt the power of prayer...both are God given.

I had my PFO closure two weeks ago. I am so sorry for those of you who have had bad experiences. Mine was as good of an experience as a surgery can be. It was certainly an anxious time for me and my family but we got through it. The OR was cold but the staff did a great job of wrapping me in warm blankets until they were ready. I was under for the whole procedure so I don't know anything that happened after the ceiling went all wobbly. My cardiologist tells me that it was a perfect PFO closure and that he has absolutely no concerns for me. The bubble test they did after the closure in the OR showed no signs of leakage and he is confident that it will heal well.

I was pretty nervous about what to expect after surgery. I read many of the posts here before surgery and I talked to my doctor about some of the conerns. I was nervous about whether I would be able to feel the closure device. My doctor was very confident that I wouldn't be able to feel it and that if I did it would be psychological, not an actual feeling. I am happy to report that two weeks after surgery I have had no discomfort or feeling of the device at all. The card for my wallet that I have to carry that states what type of implant I have says to call 911 immediately if I have chest pains. Every now and then I'll have a single pain and think -- this is it -- but it is never persistent. All I can figure is that it must be gas or indestion. I did have a sore throat for about a week from the TEE and the respirator. I was told to expect that. Otherwise, I really couldn't be more pleased with the procedure, the level of care from my doctor, the follow up...it's all been exceptional.

The only thing I guess I have had trouble with is overcoming the thought of "oh my gosh, I have an implant...in my heart!!!" I haven't asked my doctor about it but I bet there is some sort of group therapy that I could get to talk about it. If I think too hard or too long about it I think about things like, what if it comes loose or what if it rubs a bigger hole and what if, what if, what if...? Then I think about all of the totally irrational things and realize that if any of these things were possible, they wouldn't have done the surgery. I really don't believe in conspiracy theories or that we're all guinea pigs. I believe my doctors have my best interest in mind and they are there to heal me and I am not there for their amusement. Once I put it into what I consider to be the right perspective, it's much easier to go to sleep.

And above all else...I trust in the Lord. I believe firmly that He allowed me to have a stroke to reveal this condition of the PFO while I am still a young man so that my body can heal more easily and I will have a long life on this earth. And if that's the case, then God is also going to allow me to find the right doctors who will provide the right diagnosis and perform the right procedure to help me live a long life. That is really the most comforting part to me.

Recovery is going well. Plavix and aspirin. No problems with either. Echocardiogram/bubble test in two weeks and then another echo at three months, six months and then once a year from now on. I am a football referee so I hope to be on the field again by the fall. For anyone reading this or waiting for PFO closure surgery, just ask a lot of questions. Write them down before you go to the doctor so that you don't forget anything. There are certainly hard parts to it, but it is do-able. Good luck to all.

nervousmom
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/13/2009 5:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone,
I am scheduled for a PFO closure on March 26, but I may re-schedule. I am a nursing Mom and I can't take Plavix while nursing. My cardiologist suggested just using low-dose aspirin, but my stroke Dr. is very concerned about that, considering my genetic factors. I'm on Coumadin now and have since my PE/TIA after my son's birth about 18 months ago. Has anyone done a closure with just low-dose aspirin? I'd love the benefit of experience and knowledge from anyone who has had their PFO closed. Thank you!

lthree5
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 4/20/2009 11:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Maybe not completely agreeable, or pc, but, stop nursing....and take the Plavix or whatever they want....it's best you're around long term rather than losing nursing time.

lthree5
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 4/20/2009 11:54 AM (GMT -7)   
I had a PFO and ASA closed/flattened a little over three years ago after many TIAs and a stroke. I occasionally get a sharp pain deep in the left side of my chest. Does anyone else experience this? Should I be worried?

Industry22
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/23/2009 8:57 AM (GMT -7)   
I wouldn't worry about it.  Serious device related complications usually occur within the first 6 months.  After 6 months-1 year the devices have sufficiently grown into the tissue and chances for perforations, dislocations, and fractures becomes almost non-existant.  Small heart flutters can occur, but if they're not consistant, I wouldnt' worry about them.  Considering they can occur in people without devices as well. 
 
To the nursing mom.  Finish up your nursing and then discuss closure.  This is an optional procedure.  You can take the medication or you can implant a device.  If your medication (Coumadin) isn't bothering you at this point, finish your nursing and then discuss closure options later, with your Cardiologist.  Amplatzer should be your first choice of device if you decide to implant one, it is the industry standard at this point.  Helex is also a good system as well with less metal, but the system is more complex, so make sure your cardiologist has a long experience implanting it... 3-5 years. 

withnail1969
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 4/25/2009 3:20 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello everyone

I'm still waiting for a date for my PFO closure, I'm expecting it to be around June. I wondered what people have been told regarding flying after having the device fitted. My Neuro advised not to fly for 3-6 months but he also advised me not to have the procedure so I don't have complete faith in him (I won't mention his previous misdiagnosis etc etc!) Ideally I'd like to go away in the summer so would appreciate your experiences.

Thanks


bbie
New Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/30/2009 7:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello PFO People,
 
I'm new to this forum, 46 yr old male with an open PFO and Lupus Anticoagulant.   I had a kidney infarction 2 yrs ago and doctors just discovered that I have a substantial PFO.   Can't answer why they didn't look for that immediatley after the infarction.    Anyway, doctors are now recomending that I have PFO closure on June 29th which I'm now scheduled for.    Has anyone had closure and also the LA blood protien?   Any complications with this or concerns of clots forming on the device.   As usual, my mind thinks only the worst case scenarios.    Thanks for this forum, it's very helpful.
 
All the best

microgoo
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/2/2009 8:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I just had a PFO closure. I am confused as to whether we all are undergoing the same method. Mine was done via a catheter with an umbrella like device on the end of it. At first they thought there were 3 holes, a large one and two smaller ones but at a different angle it turned out to be one big hole that was shaped like a C.

I had to swallow a tube so they could get a better picture while they installed the closure device. Is this the TEE that is refered to above in many responses? I am on day 4 and have had only minor trouble. My heart either seems to skip a beat once in a while or maybe its a flutter. I can't actually feel it it on my chest just a sunken feeling when it happens.

Prior to this I had gotten a clot in my leg from a long airplane ride and it went through the PFO into my head causing me to lose hand and arm muscle motion for a day. They put me on coumadin and because it was first thought of to be multiple holes told me it would not be a good idea to get a closure. I sought a second opinion after being on blood thinner for 6 months and found a teaching doctor that specializes in this procedure. He has closed as many as 5 holes at once. Luckily ( I think )mine turned out to be just one big one. I was not having migrains that I am aware of. To me they were just headaches.

I will try and correspond on what I encounter in the healing process and post it.



- micrgoo

withnail1969
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 7/3/2009 3:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Microgoo - thanks for posting your story. I'm waiting for a date for my catheter closure. Please do let us have updates of how things are going.
Were you diagnosed as having a TIA or stroke?
The TEE or TOE is the camera down your throat, not a pleasant experience.
Keep in touch!

microgoo
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/5/2009 6:52 AM (GMT -7)   
withnail1969,
 
They called it a stroke, but it did little damage and I made a full recovery in a few days. That seems to fit the definition of the TIA.  I actually had two within about 3 months. The first was so slight I didn't even know what it was and did not get treated. When treated for the second they said I had two mini strokes and they were both in the same region. Also like someone else they were in an area that is not used much.  I had a concusion from falling off a bike at age 12 and there is a part of my brain that is not active according to some test. None of this was disabling and my life was normal. Unloaded grocery trucks for money to finished college, became an electrical engineer, got drafted for Vietnam upon graduation, etc.
 
I am on day 6 and the fluttering or skipping has gone away. I don't have any pains. I am not pushing myself.
I will try to keep from lifting over 10 lbs for the next two weeks. It's easy to forget because if your feeling good, you have a tendancy to get back into the game. I won't will be going to the gym for about 6 weeks.
 
I am on 325 mg of aspirin and 75 mg of plavix for the next 30 days. After that I don't know if it will be that same amount of aspirin or one or two of the baby aspirin.
 
I do have a question about driving. I got different opinions from the hospital on it. The pre op consultation said about 4 days. The post op said about 1 week. One nurse told me three weeks.  Another nurse said two weeks, and a call to the cath lab said about a week. Any ideas what is normal? My catheter entry point healed just fine.  My sore throat from the TEE lasted about 2 days.
 
Thanks for the reply,
 
microgoo
 
 

microgoo
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/6/2009 9:29 AM (GMT -7)   
withnail1969,
I read your post asking about air travel. My instructions say no air travel for 6 weeks. Still no feedback on when to drive.

Regards,
microgoo

withnail1969
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 7/6/2009 10:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Microgoo. 
I've been told not to drive for 1 wk only and could fly within a month. I probably wouldn't fancy it though especially as I'd be off warfarin after a year of taking it. I can't wait to get my date to get sorted.
How are you feeling today?
 

KTM94
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/23/2009 2:04 AM (GMT -7)   
I am 33 have had 3 small strokes in the past 3 months due to extreme migraines and chronic head pain I live with everyday. I went to the cardiologist to have things tested with my heart make sure things were going as they should, come to find out I have a hole the size of a lime in my heart. I immediately became the perfect candidate for a PFO. Within minutes I was scheduled to come back within 4 weeks to have this suregery done and see what results came of it. I was told that I would not feel or remember anything and it was a really quick surgery and a one night stay and a few medicines I will go home with. Ok I was scared to go on with the surgery (I mean who isn't when you know someone is messing with your main vein and heart). lol
 
I got my kids all taken care of and off to the hospital me and my husband went on June 30th, 2009. I was already scared to even be there and then it got worse when the Dr. was behind and I had to sit for another 2 hours waiting. UGH!  The IV in my hand was scary within itself (never had one even when I had given birth to 4 babies). Then when I was wheeled into the surgery room it was freezing and I was alone with all these strangers. The nurse talked to me a little bit, but I had the worst migraine (topping any chart) that it was really hard to concentrate. They scrubbed me up half my belly, and thigh with a blue stain (makes you look like a smurf  smurf  ) then they gave me the medicine in my IV that is suppose to be the "wonder" drug of all drugs to make you forget and feel calm. Well it really made me feel calm but I never forgot anything and still felt my head pain.
 
They started the numbing of the leg and that hurt like a bit of a bee sting and then I was numb I guess. I didn't feel anything until . . . WOW!! They hit the right side of my inner chest thru the main vein (thought I wasn't suppose to be feeling this?) I said something to them and I guess they upped the IV med a bit. Then WOW!! They had just moved onto the middle of my chest man that hurt and then WOW!! they must have just hit the heart. Now when I say this hurts and I can feel it I CAN FEEL IT!! They gave me a bit more drugs in my IV. Now my body does not take medicine like a normal persons body does. If you were to take some narcotic it would probably wipe you out and your would go to sleep, see ya in the morning type thing. Ok me? Um NO I get a notch or two or pain relief and just deal with the rest of the pain. Medicine really doesn't take in my body.
 
Well they finished up, took me to the recovery room, and then after a few poking and prodding took me to my over night room. I really couldn't feel anymore chest pain but man did my head hurt still!!  I finally took a sleeping pill and was out. Since the surgery I guess due to the Plavix you are given to take for a period of time I bruise deep black and blue bruises, looks like I am abused or something. You never really realize how much you hit yourself or things that hit you leave a mark until now. My leg is extremely sensitive and bruised at the sight.
 
After all is said and done, if you deal with Migraines 1  2  or 18 a month like I do, I would recommend you have this PFO surgery in a heart beat!! Even if you pay the hospital bill $25 a month for the rest of your life, nothing will ever compare to having a day without pain like I have been given!!!  I dealt with minor headaches everyday to up to 4 migraines a week, and I mean the extreme, puke your guts out, lay in a black room and hush your kids to a mute silence household migraine. Now I think in the 30 days I have had maybe 2 migraines but not the extreme ones I was having. I have had really hard time in my life not wanting to be here a few times due to constant pain and if I can reach any one out there that deals with migraines or you read this and tell someone about it, I will be so happy to tell you JUST DO IT!!! You will NOT regret it! It will be scary til your done but it is SO WORTH IT!!!  Don't listen to your neurologist who says it will have nothing to do with your migraines, I am living proof OH YES IT DOES!!
I would do it all over again (even to go thru the chest pain I had during surgery and the many days I cried before scared and after cuz my leg hurt). I wish you all who have migraines the best of luck and that you will find the comfort of a pain free day like I have. I never thought this day would come!!

anwahs
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/21/2009 1:54 PM (GMT -7)   
eyes   Hello everyone, I am new here to the forum. I am a 36 year old female and I just had a PFO closure done last Thursday. Today is the 6th day after my surgery. I am still having a mild headache, some chest pains when sleeping on my sides, tightness in my chest, and of course my groin is sore. I had TIA's last month September 16th to be exact, and less than a month later I was scheduled for surgery, I have to say I was scared to death, as far as I know because of course I was completely knocked out, but was told it went smooth. Now if you read the risk factors before surgery it is enough to make you question should I do this?  Weighing the odds that I could have more TIA's and possible a Stroke ( at any time) I went thru with it, but now Im having things happen that wasnt happening before. Oh yeah and some blurred vision has occured. Go figure fix one thing and it causes 10 more things to go bad. I was on warfarin( not a good med.) before the surgery, very hard med to regulate, took it one time right after surgery and the next day they put me on Plavix, couldnt  give me asprin with it cause im allergic to asprin.  After reading that some of your surgery expierences havent been successful with the closure, im wondering what the success rate really is. I go back to the surgeon(cardiologist) next monday so hopefully they schedule the TEE and bubble test again. Good luck and good health to all who have a PFO.

cs33
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/22/2009 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   
eyes  HI! I am also new here, I have been reading these for the last couple weeks trying to prepare myself for my PFO closure. I am 23 year old female who just had my closure done last friday October 16th. I was just curious (if anyone still replys here) other than headaches and cheast pressure for side effects after how did the groin heal for everyone? I am still sore and now have a lump that is very sore to touch. The doctor wants me to come in today to check it out....anyone else have this problem?

anwahs
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/22/2009 12:35 PM (GMT -7)   
My groin is sore, but it has only been 7 days for me, and it says it doesnt dissolve for 3 months..

cs33
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/22/2009 1:15 PM (GMT -7)   
wow....is that what your doctor said??? My doctor told me I should only be sore for a few days that I could possibly have a lump for 2-3 weeks after. But because I am still so sore and the lump is getting bigger he wanted to see me. I am only 6 days post surgery but he said it is a hematoma and to watch it and if it doesnt go away within a week to go see him again. I'm so confused as to why I read that some recoverys are so long and my doctors made it seem like it is short and easy....how is yours anwahs???

anwahs
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/22/2009 2:26 PM (GMT -7)   
I had my surgery last thursday so today has been a week......if you read the occluder paper they give you it even states that the plug they put in could take 90 days to dissolve. I have a huge lump in my leg and its still very sore. I have shortness and tightness of breath in my chest. I just found out in september I had this, a TEE was done after I went in the ER for dizzyness, tingleing in my arm, face,and leg on the left side. A month later they had me scheduled for surgery. The surgeon I see is in Tampa Florida, and he is world renown for doing this surgery. It was a scary expierience. But now I have bad headaches, and  I have never really  ever got headaches.  Im confused to at the recovery process, cause I didnt feel this bad before I had it done, and after reading on here everyone elses recovery, Im still scared.

cs33
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/23/2009 4:39 AM (GMT -7)   
oh yes the device they did tell would take 3-6 months to be completly covered by the tissue of my heart. When you went to the ER did they diagnose you with a TIA by anychance? Thats how they found mine, I have had 4 episodes of now I know were TIA's since I was 18 and this last one my husband made me go to the doctor and they started doing a bunch of test to find the PFO, like you within a month I was scheduled for surgery. I am in Houston with a doctor that is suppose to be the best at what he does but we will see how far I get... :-)   I'm sorry you have been getting bad headaches, I had them before so that isnt new to me but the pressure in the chest, tightness and shortness or breath is what scares me. But it seems like most everyone has had that, hopefully it wont last long for us!

anwahs
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/23/2009 6:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes they diagnosed me with TIA'S. Was my first episode that I ever noticed like that and I am 36. Yeah I dont like the shortness of breath either. The doc told me, 2-3 months for heart tissue to close over it and up to 3 months for the plug in my leg to dissolve. Its all still scary, have you had chest pains....I have, alot when I lay down to go to bed. Never had those before. Keep me posted on what the doc says about you. I go on monday the 26th so I will ask alot of questions to and give you a heads up. I know everyone is different but seems like alot of us has been expieriencing alot of the same side effects. Have a great day!!!
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