ATRIAL SEPTAL ANEURYSM - PFO - MEDICAL OR SURGICAL INTERVENTION?
I am 60 years old - have always, kept slim, fit and have enjoyed a healthy diet.
6 months ago my life unraveled - I thought I was having a stroke and presented at outpatients. I was weak and tired and breathless on exertion - hyperventilation and neurosis was suggested. Initial investigations showed nothing. I couldn't sleep because I could hear my heart pounding and I was frightened. GP said depression- anxiety neurosis. I had thyroid enlargement. Endocrinologist said thyroid was inactive - anxiety neurosis causing palpitations and autoimmune disease. I disagreed.
I demanded investigation and treatment and argued with the Dr. I thought I was going into heart failure - raised pulse, blood pressure and respiration - another GP said "You must be drinking 4 cups of coffee in the morning - there is nothing wrong with you.
I was sick, weak, unable to work - I demanded copies of investigations and refused to leave the Drs office till they were handed over.
Tests revealed ATRIAL SEPTAL ANEURYSM and further investigations revealed PATENT FORAMEN OVALE with 2 extra WINDOWS. GP told me echo cardiogram was normal - Investigation result said congenital aneurysm - Physician asked if I could hear the ectopic beats - she called a cardiologist who ordered a tracheal echocardiogram which looks at the back of the heart and checks for blood clots in the aneurysm. The Dr performing the procedure said the hole could be patched and my symptoms would disappear. Patch is applied through femoral artery and procedure is day surgery.
Physician said she did not think it a good idea to have this treatment - I should just continue to take medications as risk of stroke was too high if I had the patch.
I DO NOT HAVE ARTERIOSCLEROSIS
She referred me to a cardiologist who did not see me - he phoned me at home to tell me the lesion was too large to patch and only open heart surgery would repair it. He said the risk of stroke was too high for me to have surgical treatment.
I am Doctor shopping for a cardiologist who will treat me now.
I have no reason to trust a cardiologist who refused me treatment without even seeing me.
Preventative surgery is being denied to me and I believe this decision is made to ration limited resources available in Brisbane Australia in our public hospital system. My research suggests that after 55 most patients have arteriosclerosis which reduces the functioning of the heart so aggressive treatment is not recommended after 55 years of age.
My blood vessels and valves have not been damaged by fat BUT I HAVE TURNED 60.
Atrial septal aneurysm with shunt can form a clot that travels to my brain in tiny pieces as they break off to cause minor strokes or as a big fat clot that disables or kills me.
My father, grandmother, great grandmother and her father and many of their siblings had strokes - some of them died on the job.
I am lucky that technology has improved so I am the first in the chain of stroke victims in the family to be diagnosed - NOW I NEED A CARDIAC SURGEON WHO WILL REPAIR MY DAMAGED HEART. I have more consultations arranged but no confidence that I can avoid a premature death from stroke or heart failure.
Please talk to me if you have reached middle age and have a leaking septal aneurysm that affects your health status.