Bret Michaels suffers minor Stroke from PFO

Bret Michaels suffers stroke from PFO

by David Dansereau

Bret Michaels, who just taped his interview with Oprah Winfrey before this recent setback from a minor stroke from a PFO, is expected to recover (again).   His condition is reported as “operable and treatable”, so there will certainly be many following  Bret’s progress as well as more interest in PFO and related disorders.  I certainly wish him a swift recovery as well.

According to E Online Bret was scheduled to return this Sunday to a finale of Celebrity Apprentice , and it is reported his status for this event is in doubt, as well as his planned return to the concert circuit on May 28.

To learn more about PFO,stroke and to join in on the conversation with patient discussions about PFO please visit

For more on Bret Michaels see this LA Times article


Dig your grave with your teeth?

Heart disease and stroke are the number one and three causes of death in the United States.  Inflammation has been shown to be a primary factor in the development of atherosclerosis, the major cause of cardiovascular disease.  But did you ever think you could be “digging your grave with your teeth”.

If you keep up with the articles and posts from my nutrition site, you might naturally think I’m referring to the heart disease and stroke risks associated with all the poor food choices we make.

While studies show dietary choices do contribute to the disease process and can lead to an early grave, the focus of this post is on the link between heart disease and gum disease.

A private comment on my stroke blog recently asking me about what meds one would need to take after PFO closure initiated this post.  I generally leave specific medical advice to the docs, and most of the controversy and need for better patient guidelines post PFO closure surround the topic of continued blood thinning. One very important medication, and the one most often minimized after PFO closure, is the need to take some form of prophylaxis by antibiotics before dental procedures.  Why?

Some surgical and dental procedures can cause a brief bacteremia (bacteria in the bloodstream).  No big deal, right?  Well, if you have abnormal heart valves, prosthetic cardiac valves, congenital heart disease or have had cardiac procedures like stenting or occluders (PFO closure devices) placed then these bacteria can become lodged on these abnormal surfaces.  The life threatening medical condition that results is called bacterial endocarditis and it is a heart risk that occurs when this normal bacteria from your mouth (source can also come from the respiratory tract, intestines or urinary tract) enters the bloodstream and causes inflammation in heart tissue.

Bottom line:

The people with the highest risk for bacterial endocarditis include those who have:

  • Prosthetic cardiac valve
  • Previous endocarditis
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cardiac transplantation with cardiac valve abnormalities

For all others:

The obvious-Avoid periodontitis by brushing and flossing regularly and get those regular checkups and cleaning from your dentist-to help your cardiovascular system and keep you from “digging a grave with your teeth”.

[Sidebar and Quick Tip for those new members of the “heart plug club”]

Keep an extra dose of antibiotics on hand in case of dental emergencies and remember to take your dose as prescribed before you arrive at your dentist for your regular check-ups.

Article by David Dansereau for


Ide M et al,J of periodontology,2004

Yong-Hee P et al, J of Periodontal Research,2007

Time is Brain (and we still need to know more about PFO and Stroke…)

As you might be aware May is Stroke Awareness Month.

I hope that you take some time this month to review and advance your knowledge on stroke!  To keep up to date, I just finished viewing a replay on the Rhode Island Hospital (Providence) website where they created a stroke e-presentation for the EMS Community featuring Dr. Edward Feldmann, MD former Director of the Stroke Center.
If you’d like to review your knowledge of stroke Dr. Feldman’s presentation is worth your time.  Remember, especially this month, “Time is Brain”.
I thought it was interesting that during his presentation Dr. Feldman noted while covering the neuro floor at the hospital recently he witnessed at least “12 or so” of the stroke patients on the floor were younger than 50 years old.
[Personal Sidebar] Would be curious how many of those young stroke survivors under 50 may have had a PFO, but PFO  was not mentioned in the presentation. We still have work to do.

Play the Stroke Awareness Presentation

Username: RIHStrokeCenter
Password: EMS1109
Please feel free to share this presentation with your partners, work associates, family and friends.  If you don’t have time to watch the presentation now, here’s a quick review from the presentation on  how to recognize a stroke and act “FAST”.
Know-Stroke Act FAST

Act FAST and call 911

Either way, be sure you Know Stroke !

posted by David Dansereau for