PFO with ASA and other stuff

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jaggirl47
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Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/25/2011 8:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I looked through some of the threads already but wanted to post my own. I am a 32 year old woman and I serve in the Army. In 2003 in Iraq I sustained a traumatic brain injury. 6 months after that I started having migraines and dizziness. The neurologist said the migraines are from the injury but the dizziness is not. The dizziness would come and go every few days.
 
Flash forward to about 2 years ago, the dizziness has been daily and steadily getting more frequent. I cannot bend over or I almost pass out. Standing and walking I get severe dizziness. In May of this year, I was finally given an EKG after repeated requests. It said I had a right bundle branch block so I was sent to cardiology for an echo. The echo showed a PFO vs ASD with a positive bubble study both at rest and during vaso-vagal. The cardiologist recommended a TEE, which I had 1 1/2 weeks ago.
 
The TEE showed that I have an atrial septal aneurysm (the doc said it's very floppy), large PFO, and possibly several small fenestrations of the posterior fossa ovalis. I also have a right to left shunt. My brain MRI was done Friday to see if I have had any strokes which came back as negative, which is awesome. The main issue I have is constant dizziness. It gets so bad I can't even walk around my block and have many issues keeping up with my kids.
 
My doctor ordered a stress test to check my oxygenation when I move to see how much it drops when I exercise. He is hesitant to patch it because he cannot guarantee that it will get rid of the dizziness. I honestly do not know what to do. I truly believe my dizziness is coming from the PFO, but what if I push to close it and things don't get better?
 
I am just looking for opinions to help give me a better idea on the positives and negatives, and if anyone else has the same or similar issues.

mandawg68
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/27/2011 3:53 PM (GMT -6)   
hello, i posted a few down from yours. i also have med/large pfo with asa. i also have dizzy/lightheadedness and mine often comes with nauea and sometimes vomitting. i have the dizziness a lot but i can be sitting watching tv and it happens, does not have to be under physical stress. went to doctor today for the first time since i got out of hospital 2 weeks ago with this news. he said he would like to see me have the closure since it is this size. but he also said he does not think the dizziness is from the pfo. i disagree i think it is. this is just my family doctor so i am going to go see a cardiologist and get his opinion. i do not like the dizziness, it makes a lot of lifes activities hard.

good luck to you!!

mandawg68
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/29/2011 3:57 PM (GMT -6)   
hello again. do you also have any shortness of breath?? for me the 2 worst symptoms i have, or at least the most annoying, are the dizziness and the shortness of breath. when i breath in it feels like there is something pushing the air out before i can even get th full breath in. just wondering if you are having the same.

charlie.ungashick
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/1/2011 11:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi JagGirl,

Very sorry to hear about your injury, but let me thank you sincerely for your service to our country.

I was 39 when I had a TIA, which led to a similar diagnosis as yours. I had large PFO, significant right to left shunting at rest and a floppy ASA. I am healthy, fit and active, so all things considered, I went forward and had my PFO closed via traditional percutaneous occluder device. The procedure is very straightforward.

PFO treatment is a challenging topic for the medical community, because it’s so prevalent (25% of the population has one). While there’s strong circumstantial evidence of PFO’s relation to stroke and severe migraine, there’s no irrefutable scientific proof that closure is the best option. In fact, many studies show that medical treatment (e.g., blood thinners) can be as effective as closure, provided that the long-term aspects of medical treatment are right for you. On the other hand, other studies show strong correlation between PFO and stroke (the existence of PFO nearly doubles for PFO in patients with sudden stroke).

Finally, the US FDA hasn’t yet approved device-based closure but on an exceptional basis. Patients are encouraged to enter clinical trials to help advance the science around PFO treatment. It’s a lot of variables to deal with, particularly with an issue that has aspects involving neurology, cardiology and hematology.

I’m a member of a non-profit group called PFO Research Foundation. Our goal is to help patients just like you. Feel free to contact me directly if I can be of any help.

Best of luck!

Charlie Ungashick
PFO Research Foundation

jaggirl47
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/3/2011 9:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Charlie,
I just joined that group on Facebook. One of the members sent me mass amounts of articles for this. It has been a huge resource.

Mandawg68,
Yes I do have shortness of breath. It sucks. I cannot walk up stairs. I get nausea as well. Every night I lay down for bed I get vertigo with nausea. It's horrible!

confused, but hopeful
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/17/2011 12:05 AM (GMT -6)   
For Charlie, PFO Research Foundation ROCKS, Bray does even more, so thank YOU as well....

Jaggirl & Charlie,
doing some digging on my own (how I found this website) I have a form of (at least) 1 type of Dysautonomia. After a surgery in '09, I began fainting and having symptoms which you two have described. My surgeon blew me off about the symptoms, saying it was from the pain meds (took 2 post-op) or too much 'bed rest' following, which didn't jive with me either, given I was up and about practically a few days post-op. Soon after, I had another faint, and an episode where I was sitting, got many of the symptoms I had prior to the prior faints. Bewildered, I went to my regular Dr. and GRATEFULLY he took me seriously, immediately took my B/P lying down, sitting up & standing. He referred me to have something called a Tilt Table Test afterwards, which is evaluated by a cardiologist. I was diagnosed shortly afterwards by an EP as having Neurocardiogenic Syncope, but I had many tests to rule out any underlying cause for it, that's when they found I had a PFO. Although I have had migraines since I was a young child, he decided no closure at this time. In June/July I had started developing SEVERE memory loss very suddenly, told my EP cardiologist about it, and was referred to a Neurologist. I was at low risk for a stroke, according to him so in NO way did I expect to find out that I had one after an MRI, after all, how do you have a stroke (not a TIA) and NOT know it?? Answer: "Silent Stroke", and yes I had some brain damage, thus my memory loss. Back to my EP cardiologist after, and PFO closure was now recommended. I had that in Sept. '09 with an Amplatzer device.

Bottom line as to why I am posting all of this is that here is because since then, some of the symptoms you two have mentioned have actually gotten progressively worse. Just from my own research as per my own health issues, PFO closure & forms of autonomic disorders are often (for lack of a better term) 'uncharted & misunderstood' by many, for now anyway even many medical professionals.

Lastly, if either of you want to contact me, feel free to, I hope that in some way, this somehow may have made some sense, due to my memory & cognitive issues or "brain fogs" due to stroke issues and/or autonomic disorders.
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