Yes, you already may know “MAY” is National Stroke Awareness Month. What you may not know is May 1st will always have a different meaning for me. On May 1st, 2007 I had heart surgery or percutaneous closure to repair a PFO (patent foramen ovale) that is believed to have caused a cryptogenic embolus to get to my brain. In other words, a small blood clot was allowed to bypass my lungs and gain a back door entry to my brain through a congenital heart defect that proved to be more than simply an “incidental” finding.
In fact, it was discovered through diagnostic imaging and a comprehensive neurological history and assessment that it wasn’t the first clot to escape up to my brain. I guess you would consider my PFO “pathological” as I believe that means my particular heart anatomy placed me at an increased stroke risk.
So why am I reflecting on this procedure on my 6th anniversary of PFO Closure?
According to a recent Editorial in the March 21,2013 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM.org) there is “Still No Closure on the Question of PFO Closure“. Certainly all eyes and (Amplatzer) investment ears too will be waiting and listening to what the FDA has to say about PFO device closure perhaps at the end of the year. I worry, however, that physicians and certainly already insurance carriers have not only closed the door but locked it shut on patients who also may have the same PFO pathology. I will be hoping more PFO patients like myself speak up and speak out to regulatory agencies before it is too late and they throw away the keys to that door that is quickly closing on PFO.