The PFO Issue

I have a PFO.  If you found this post by searching for PFO, then you know what it is.  If you don’t know, PFO stands for patent foramen ovale.  It is a ‘hole’ in the heart.  The blood in the upper chambers of my heart (the atria) flows back and forth sometimes.  There should be a solid wall there separating them but in my heart there is a little open flap that allows the blood to flow straight across.  The medical term for this is shunting.  Shunting can produce a blood clot.  A PFO is present in about 25% of the population.  Most of the time,  people with this don’t know it and are completely symptom free.  There has been a long standing theory that having a PFO increases stroke risk.  My neurosurgeon, the one who opened up my skull, said that my PFO caused my stroke and that I should get it closed.  So, I was referred to a cardiologist.  He had the opposite opinion.  He said that the PFO probably had nothing to do with my stroke and the risks of having it closed outweighed the benefits.  So, I read the research (powerpoint presentation).  I agree with my cardiologist.  The research is pretty conclusive that a PFO does not increase stroke risk.  I didn’t have mine closed.  I chose not to close it and I have pretty much eliminated all other risk factors.  Here’s hoping no future strokes!

Categories: Health, Stroke stuff

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