One year ago, at age 34, I suffered a mild stroke. While otherwise healthy, I had migraines with aura since I was a teenager and I had a few episodes (beginning after my first pregnancy) that were probably TIAs in retrospect. A small PFO was found via TEE/bubble study, while all other tests came back normal. I sought a second opinion and a transcranial doppler revealed that the degree of shunting was large (5 on a scale of 1-5). I had the PFO closed via catheter with a 28mm cardioseal device in July. (The PFO turned out to be 13mm- sizable). The procedure itself was not a big deal with the exception of one episode of bleeding from the puncture site and an achy groin for a couple weeks. Six months out, another TEE/bubble study revealed that the hole was closed. The good news is that I haven't had a migraine since two weeks post procedure and I haven't had another TIA/stroke. The bad news is that I now have irregular heartbeats from time to time (especially when laying down) that I never experienced before the procedure. I was told that this was normal and to be expected as the heart adapts to the device. Because atrial fibrillation can lead to stroke-causing clots, this is worrisome even though these episodes are brief and infrequent.
One year ago, I was looking for other people's experiences so that I could make an educated decision. I promised myself that I would tell my story once I had some perspective. It is only one story, but maybe it will help someone that was once in my shoes. Take care.