PFO closure in the UK

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stillsmiling
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 11/7/2010 4:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello, I am new here. I have had a series of TIA's (of which i only know about 1 or maybe 2 - so the others must have been small, or while i was asleep but big enough to show up on an MRI scan) and have recently been found to have a PFO. I am now waiting for a date for the closure. (trans catheter)
I have researched the procedure and am comfortable with the theory of HOW it happens, but what about the emotional effects? (this was the hardest bit with my TIAs as i really thought there were no symptoms after 24 hours. 4 months on I am still exhausted quickly, cry a lot and find it difficult to multi task)
I have read on this site about palpatations and chest pain after the closure - is this normal. I have NO chest pain or symptoms at all and if it wasn't for the fact that the hole is the probable reason for my TIAs I would not go through with the closure. I am scared of having a larger stroke (I am a very fit and active 46 year old woman and all of this is totally out of the blue) Are there any other common side effects or symptoms I should be aware of?
Is there anyone who has had this procedure done in the UK as I think our system differs from the US in many respects (especially follow up care - the US seems to have much more!)

x Stillsmiling

stkitt
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 11/8/2010 9:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello,
 
Welcome to HealingWell.  A TIA would not necessarily show up on CT or MRI since by definition it is "transient" and not a completed event [stroke].

TIAs do not show brain changes on CT or MRI scans according to my neurologist.   (Most strokes do show changes on such tests.) Because symptoms and signs may have completely disappeared by the time one gets to the hospital, a diagnosis of a TIA may be made on a person's medical history alone. I had every test available including 2 TEE's and no PFO was found so that was not the cause of my TIA. 

I suspect you are feeling a bit depressed re the dx and procedure which would be normal as anytime we find out we have a problems re our health we tend to worry and then all the scary thoughts pop up. 

Learning that you have  a patent foramen ovale can be frightening. While your doctor can provide you with medical advice and information about the disorder, you may find it helpful to talk to other people who've been in the same situation. I would ask your Dr. if there are any Heart Support Groups in your area that you may be able to join to help you with the anxiety and ? depression tat are bothering you.  It helps to talk to others directly who have had the procedure.

Coming here was a good thing as you read through the forum you see that many others have been through what you are facing.'

Take care and stick with us.

Kindly,

Kitt




~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.
www.healingwell.com

"If you can't change the world, change your world"

stillsmiling
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 11/8/2010 10:28 AM (GMT -6)   
thanks for your reply Kitt,
The definition and diagnosis of a TIA seems to depend on where you are!!

According to Knol; (http://knol.google.com/k/transient-ischemic-attack-tia#)

The time-based traditional definition of TIA (recovery within 24 hours) is problematic. It was developed in the 1950s and 1960s prior to the advent of modern brain imaging techniques. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain have recently revealed that nearly half of patients with TIA actually have evidence of new cerebral infarction (irreversibly damaged brain tissue); the percentage of TIA patients with this finding increases with longer duration of symptoms (Figure 1). TIA patients with an infarct on MRI stand at increased risk for subsequent TIA and stroke. A newer proposed tissue-based concept redefines TIA as an event with transient symptoms (usually lasting less than 1 hour) without evidence of infarction on brain imaging studies1. Using this newer proposed definition, deficits that resolve within 24 hours but are accompanied by imaging evidence of infarction would now be classified as ischemic strokes rather than TIA.

My MRI showed 'multiple lesions' which is worrying as I can only account for 1 or possibly 2. I have always been prone to fainting so I suppose these faints may account for some too. Is low blood pressure a symptom of a PFO?

I am not too worried about my PFO. I have had it for 46 years and have only recently begun to have any associated problems. I am eager to have the closure - I have been waiting for a date for the procedure since mid September - the NHS don't seem to be in much of a rush!
I just wondered about the side effects the doctors don't tell you about.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 11/8/2010 6:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi stillsmiling,
 
It is nice talking with you.  Here is the latest I have on TIAs and this was the information given to me in July of this year by my Dr. at Noran Neurological Clinic.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is like a stroke, producing similar symptoms, but usually lasting only a few minutes and causing no permanent damage. Often called a ministroke, a transient ischemic attack may be a warning. about one in three people who have a transient ischemic attack eventually has a stroke, with about half occurring within a year after the transient ischemic attack.

A transient ischemic attack can serve as both a warning and an opportunity — a warning of an impending stroke and an opportunity to take steps to prevent it.

Because a transient ischemic attack is short-lived, your doctor may diagnose a TIA based just on the medical history of the event rather than on anything found during a general physical and neurological examination. To help determine the cause of your TIA and to assess your risk of stroke, your doctor may rely on the following:

Computerized tomography (CT) scanning.

Computerized tomography angiography (CTA) scanning.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA).

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE).

Arteriography.

As TIAs can be of very short duration your fainting spell may have masked your symptoms.

I had the CT, MRI, MRA of brain and carotids, TEE and many blood studies.

You say yu ar4 prone to fainting spell, can you share when it is your likely to faint ?

Kindly,

Kitt

 


~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.
www.healingwell.com

"If you can't change the world, change your world"

stillsmiling
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 11/9/2010 2:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kitt, My TIA was also in July. I had CT scan, MRI scan, carotid (doppler)scan, echo cardiogram (which picked up the PFO, then bubble test then Trans Oesophagal Echocardiogram (english spelling makes that a TOE!)as well as many blood tests - i am not diabetic, don't have Hughes syndrome (sticky blood) and am not pregnant!)

I have always fainted. The first time I remember was waiting to perform in a church Christmas sevice when i was about 6! It usually happens if I have to stand still for a long time. I have always put it down to low blood pressure (mine is usually around 100/60) I sometimes feel light headed if I stand up too quickly.

I haven't fainted for a few yeas but that may be because I know the warning signs and sit or lay down. Warning signs are usually; feeling light headed, voices sound a long way off or like they are underwater, vision 'swims', cold sweat then black out.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 11/9/2010 8:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Good Morning,
 
My daughter has a history of fainting but hers is related to anxiety especially if it has anything to do with physician visits, blood draws etc.  One time she fainted and had a seizure so she was transported by ambulance to the hospital and went through all the tests.  Her final dx was Vasovagal syncope.  Vasovagal syncope occurs when your body overreacts to triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress. The trigger results in vasovagal syncope — a brief loss of consciousness caused by a sudden drop in your heart rate and blood pressure, which reduces blood flow to your brain.
 
At the time her Dr. told her the minute she feels the sx. as you described to lie down flat whereever she is even if it is on the floor.  She always has her lab work down while laying down.  :)
 
Glad you recognize your sx and sit down or lay down.  It sure beats taking the chance of being  hurt when fainting. 
 
TOE, that is great and I did know your spelling was just a bit different on some words.  My bubble test was normal.  So nobody can say I am a half a bubble off ~ silly joke !
 
The only thing found in all my testing is that I have Factor V Leiden. Factor V Leiden is a common inherited genetic disorder that can increase your chance of developing abnormal blood clots (thrombophilia), usually in your veins. This would not be the cause of the TIA however. 
 
Hope your day is awesome and again I enjoy talking with you.
 
Kindly,
Kitt
 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.
www.healingwell.com

"If you can't change the world, change your world"

stillsmiling
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 11/9/2010 11:27 AM (GMT -6)   
I can sympathise with your daughter. Seeing my own blood also makes me pass out (other peoples is fine!) and I have far too active an imagination. I remember fainting after reading a short story called 'A Visit to the Footbinder' It was about how they used to bind japanese girls feet and went into quite a bit of detail. I still have to take a deep breath when i think of it even though it was 28 years ago. I like to think it is my well developed sense of empathy, but it is more likely that I am a wimp!

Hope the sun is shining for you - x

Mum2Ev
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/17/2010 11:17 AM (GMT -6)   
still smiling..... i see ur in west sussex..i'm in Sandhurst, Berkshire and have replied to a post about PFO's on another thread!

Ur exactly the same as me hun, had all the tests going and after 18 months of worry & tests it showed i had the PFO. Are you aware that everyone is born with a hole in the heart but as a baby when you take ur first breath the hole closes over? It is where the umbilical cord attaches ... I never knew this until a few weeks ago. I also found out that i think 1 out of 4 stroke 'victims' the stroke is caused by a PFO. I wish i'd known this as would've saved mucho months of worry etc, however, saying that, my brain has been tested to the max as has my blood and all are A-OK!!!! So am left with a lot of peace in my heart knowing (assuming!) it was a clot that went thru the hole to cause the stroke. I tried to see if you had an email addy but its not showing.

Take care and I know exactly how you feel.... hugs xxxxxxxxxxxx

stillsmiling
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 12/17/2010 11:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi mum2ev, thanks for your encouraging reply! My closure is booked in for 5th Jan at Brighton, so not long to wait now. I am feeling quite positive about it at all as it will herald a sort of new beginning. As you said, it will be great to have one worry removed. I am also looking forward to having a bit more energy, I always thought i was just lazy!!!
x

Mum2Ev
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/17/2010 12:11 PM (GMT -6)   
LOL @ lazy!!! please feel free to email me reesjones2010@hotmail.co.uk
I was 36 when i had my stroke with a 2 and 3 year old!! Interesting to say the least! :)

I wish you all the best for ur op and please please don't worry, its mad to think they do heart surgery in less than an hour!!! Whilst i was lying there on the theatre bed and could feel the tubes I started to panic a bit until i looked at the nurses in the room and saw one yawning and one looking at the monitor, totally unphased! So i took great peace in that it was all normal, then i spoke to the lady opposite me who'd had the procedure before me and she said she felt the same thing! so be assured all okay! One bit of advice is DEFO wee before you're walked down to theatre!!! ;) i wish i did now! lol!
xx

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 12/17/2010 7:00 PM (GMT -6)   
 
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  I am glad you have already made a friend with whom you can visit and share caring and support.
 
I looke forward to getting to know you better.
 
Happy Holidays,
 
Kitt

Iang
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/20/2010 7:24 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Stillsmiling,

Some words of encouragement I hope.

My Aunt had a closure about 18 months ago. Prior to the procedure she suffered from lack of breath and energy along with cold hands etc. Since the procedure she on top of the world, she now has none of problems she had before and is back walking, hiking and camping and certainly appears to be a lot fitter than she was.

Earlier this Year in May I myself suffered a TIA and am due to have my closure 19th Jan in London. I am 44, very active, I don't drink or smoke and I am vegetarian (boring hey!)

Although I do not suffer from the symptoms my Aunt had, her experience has left me with no doubt about the procedure and I am confident it is the right way to go.

All the best for the future.

 

Ian.


Griffygill
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2014
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/18/2015 1:37 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello,
I would like to add to the encouragement for anyone else in this situation. I had my pfo closure 2 days ago, and I really don't know what I was worrying about!
I had a tia completely out of the blue in December 2013. Had various tests and it wasn't until September 2014 that I was diagnosed with a pfo. Post tia I really wasn't feeling great, constantly tired, and feeling "off balance" rather than dizzy. I also suffered extremely cold hands and feet. I was booked in for a pfo closure at the Brighton Cardiac centre. To cut a long story short, I was wheeled into theatre, and they numbed my groin, and then I thought they were doing various tests, but the surgeon said 'there you go, all done'! I had felt a slight fluttering around the heart, but thought that was nerves!
Anyway, back out the same day, and two days on I feel fantastic. So glad I had it done.

Gill
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