Why is it so difficult to prevent unnecessary medical procedures in the US Healthcare System?
This was the subheading of a recent article in the Politics section of the Atlantic on August 13,2021 by Chris Outcalt that caught my eye after a Google alert for stroke and PFO flagged it for me.
I hope you’ll take the time to read this article. I found it to be disturbing, but if you’ve lived inside this PFO world as a patient (like I and many of my readers have) you’ll know the ups and downs and uncertainty with choices PFO patients still face today along with the distress and fear the patient in the spotlight of this article, Marian Simmons felt when she was advised to close her PFO.
You Be the Judge: Read the Atlantic Article
The first time she’d heard the word stroke was in Sorensen’s office. In her case, there was more. The device Sorensen implanted in her heart was made of a metal alloy that contained nickel, something she and her mother had specifically asked about that day in Sorensen’s office because Simmons is allergic to nickel. “That was my worst fear,” Simmons told me. “I felt like, Oh my God, he lied to my face, and now it’s inside my body. What am I supposed to do?”
Quick Background | For Learning More on PFO:Chris Outcalt-The Atlantic
What is a PFO? During the embryonic stage of human development, a small opening covered by a tiny flap—the foramen ovale—forms between the two upper chambers of the heart. In most people, the valve closes and the hole seals during infancy; for about one out of four individuals, however, the cavity remains. Most people with PFOs never learn they have the condition—it usually has no typical symptoms or side effects. In the medical world, it’s considered a normal anatomic variation but in some cases it can be pathologic.
PFO Repair: The PFO-repair procedure involves making a small incision in a patient’s groin and then funneling the closure device up into the heart.
Search “PFO” on this Blog to learn more. Also listen to our KnowStroke Podcast Episode on Advocacy for more choices for patients with PFO