Anyone with a PFO (hole in the heart)

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 373
   Posted 1/25/2007 11:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Guys-
I know I asked this before but I need a refresher. For those of you with a PFO, what were your symptoms and was it a small hole. My main question is could even a small hole cause symptoms. They found a small pfo on me and the doctors didn't seem concerned about it at all but I am because I have symptoms that are very bothersome. I appreciate your input!

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 2/2/2007 6:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, i have a hole in my heart, but i think it may be placed diffent form yours. Mine apparently is facing my lung. I found out last year. I have had loads of scans and am now waiting the results to see if i have to have heart surgery. I live in the north east of england and was told only one person had this type of surgery for hole in the heart in 10 years! makes me feel so reasured sad . looking back i had lots of symtoms but my doctor said i had asthma, and my irrgular heart beat was stress. I went into Google to try and talk to others with simular health problems as i have never spoke or know about any one with adult hole in the heart   

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/14/2007 6:21 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi my wife has just been told she has a hole in the back of her heart, and her symtoms are :-

coughing (almost choking), tired, breathless when walking more than 100 yds, fluid on the lungs.

she is now being refered to glenfield hospital.

So we have to wait, but the worry is this coughing and choking.  At night it is worst.

Does this help ? 


Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 2/15/2007 10:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi johnend, welcome to healing well forum we are glad to have you join us here.  I am so sorry about your wife.  Is this something new? or something that just came on all of a sudden?  It would seem that if she had a hole in her heart she would of been able to live with it but over time some signs and symptoms would start to arise and then it would need repair.  My mother has Mitro Valve Prolapse and needs to have 4 valves replaced.  She gets fluid build up around her heart and lungs and in her legs has to take Lasix to help control it.  Coughing and choking is often a problem and she sleeps with her head elevated on several pillows to help with this.  Perhaps you can suggest trying this to your wife?  Please do keep us updated on how things go our thoughts and prayers are with you...Take care

Co~Mod: Depression
Moderator: Heart & Cardiovascular Disease

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 373
   Posted 2/15/2007 2:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Els...are you going to be at chat tonight? Does your mom get the fluid build up because of the Mitral Valve prolapse?? What test showed the fluid?

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/7/2008 8:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey I was wondering what kind of symtoms do you have in reference to your pfo.. My son is 16 and they said the same thing that is was nothing to worry about however he gets headaches, stomach aches, faints, gets pale. Please let me know.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 4/8/2008 2:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I had a PFO surgically repaired about 5 weeks ago (not the cath repair). I had 2 small strokes, severe light headedness, palpitations (PVC's). Mine was very large (1.5 inches) with a high degree of shunting, and almost no septum left at all. I was considered high risk for further neurological events.

Generally a doc will tell you it's nothing serious unless you are young and have a stroke or 2. It's not an uncommon defect, I think 25-30% of the population has it. I don't know whether size matters or not. Symptoms might include some hypoxia if it's a high degree of shunting... thus blood mixing. Light headedness might result, but I have never heard of headaches being caused by the defect.
If there have not been any neuro issues, many doctors feel closing it is just as risky as leaving it along.

ASD's are a bit different as they are true holes in the heart, and should be repaired, as they can lead to problems such as pulmonary hypertension if left untreated.

Hope this helped answer your question neurogurl.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 4/9/2008 6:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I was diagnosed not too long ago with a PFO and ASA. I had no symptoms until I had a TIA in February. That's when they found it. I have absolutely no other medical problems other than migraines with aura. I'm scheduled to have the closure procedure at the end of the month. My Doctor says I am the healthiest person he has ever done this closure procedure on. What symptoms are you having?

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 4/17/2008 9:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Neurogurl,

Doctors like to tell you not to worry unless there is a high risk of stroke, embolism, etc. If you are young and haven't had a stroke they consider you "symptom free". They worry more when you are older and more likely to suffer from a stroke, heart failure.

You didn't list symptoms so it's hard to tell you. Remember sometimes treating the "hole" can cause more problems later on. These procedures are farely new and they do not have too many studies of people living with it for the rest of their lives. PFO's are very common. You have had it since birth more than likely since that is a hole we have open inutero that closes and seals up when we are born.

Now if you are having symtoms thate are affecting your everyday life and are bothering you go back to the DR. and if that one doesn't help get a SECOND OPINION. You do not have to settle with treatments you are not satisfied with.

I have a PFO and an ASA but they won't fix it because I am young and "symptom free"and there is a greater risk of having problems after the surgery than living with this. I stopped using the aspirin and Plavix because they made me bleed out and gave me migranes. I actually had 2 PFO's but one closed up on it's own. I got a new doctor who suggested thinning my blood naturally with garlic and a glass of wine a few time a week. Since I am sensitive to medications it works for me. I do take Metropolol for the severe skipping hearbeats but other than that. I do get tired more easily but I just rest when needed and then get back to the grind.

Do lots of research online. Write a list of what's bothering you /symptoms. Questions about how you feel, treatments and medication. The way HMO's are controlling things you have to be proactive in getting the best care for you.
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