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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 9/12/2009 8:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I am a new member. This series of postings has been invaluable to my peace of mind. I had a massive (rt. side) stroke in June, that was caught in time (I knew I was OK as I woke in ICU fingering guitar chords to a song streaming through my brain). The cause was an undiagnosed rather large PFO (total surprise to me, a high country backpacker who works out regularly, however I do get migraines (with auras)). 3 weeks ago my cardiologist installed a gore helix device via catheter. Lots of scary palpitations the first few days, but thanks to this forum I knew that was not uncommon. I had been walking 30 to 40 minutes daily since the stroke, instead of going to the YMCA, and after the PFO closure, almost immediately (2 days after), I continued that, especially as my shape seemed to change for the worse while in hospital (tho. no wt. gain). As soon as I felt ready, I went to the YMCA once each week, doing my usual workout, including lifting 2 8lb. weights, as I'd been told there were "no restrictions except contact sports". The day after the second Y visit (end of week 2), I started getting scary palpitations every evening as soon as I relaxed, or whenever I would lie down. I checked my blood pressure each time (I'm on blood pressure med. though my pressure is low/normal, as a precaution, as well as plavix, aspirin, and zocor (anti-inflamatory), and every few episodes an arythmia registered, plus usually higher than usual bp, esp. diastolic, and very high or very low pulse. I also became aware that I had more shortness of breath than I had before, especially in the p.m., and definitely a chest tightness, that felt a bit like asthma coming on, though no asthma. There is a trace amount of ash in the air, not visible except at sunset, so that might add to the feeling. I have been so relieved that so many of you have posted similar feelings! I've tried ibuprofen, which seems to help a bit. I also have mild headaches in the a.m., but no migraines. I see the cardiologist and my regular doctor next week, the neurologist in a couple of weeks. I will speak to them of this, but in the meantime, does anyone have info. as to when the palpitations and chest/lung discomfort go away?!

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 9/13/2009 9:09 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Guitargirl
I'm 4 wks post closure and am still getting some tightness in my throat/chest and palps. From what I've read it can take 2-3 months to settle. Why don't you come over to the other PFO closure thread where there's a few of us who've had the procedure recently - we can compare note there!

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/13/2009 10:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Guitargirl,
I was told specifically by my cardiologist not to do anything but a casual walk or swim for the first 90 days.  He said it was very important not to get my heart rate above 110 beats per minute.  He said that while your heart is acceping the closure device and healing around it, that you did not want blood rushing too hard or fast against it. 
Also I am on plavix and aspirin daily.  I am not allowed to take ibuprofen with those medicines (not sure if you are on them).  I worked out 4 days a week prior to the surgery but am following doctors orders not to at this point.
Mama bear

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 9/15/2009 1:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Mamabear & Withnail:

Thank you both for responding with useful comments. I believe I successfully posted on the other thread, but still don't know why this didn't post there. Are you 2 the only ones who saw this posting? It may not matter, as it seems you've both had very similar and recent experiences to mine, so your responses may be most pertinent anyway. I am truly grateful for your responses.
As I said in the other thread I'm 57, was quite fit before the stroke except for an extra 15 or so pounds, worked out regularly, low/normal blood pressure, low choleserol, no genetic predisposition, however I've gotten migraines since I was 10, and have tended toward very low energy when I'm tired, or very high energy when working on a project (art or music). I'm married with a teenage daughter (which has been difficult this summer). I live in a rural area, luckily driving distance to a terrific hospital in S./Central Coast CA. --Guitargirl

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