Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Latest study leans toward an answer to a stroke risk factor

A still from the video of my PFO being closed
click here to view the video
We've seen a lot of information bounced back and forth about the efficacy of closing a patent foramen ovale, or a hole between the two upper heart chambers.

Now, read about a study showing that the closure may prevent further patent foramen ovale-related strokes:
"PFO-related cryptogenic strokes tend to be larger and more superficial, and PFO-unrelated cryptogenic strokes tend to be deeper and smaller, so in the medical management group we saw more larger and superficial strokes than in the device group, suggesting there were still PFO strokes in the medical management group," Thaler told MedPage Today. "So it all makes sense even though the overall trial was negative."
"A lot of people say we have three negative trials, and walk away," Thaler added. "But I think there's a lot in this trial that helps us to understand and uncover the potential beneficial effects of the device for preventing PFO-related recurrences."
Kyra Becker, MD, of the University of Washington and an American Stroke Association spokesperson who was not involved in the study, said that "refining our ability to attribute strokes to PFO over time may allow us to create a better treatment strategy."
My own stroke was apparently caused by a hole between my heart chambers, which was since closed. I've been told by doctors that now, my stroke chances are the same as the general population.

I think the last phrase in the excerpt, "refining our ability to attribute strokes," is pretty key in all this. If the strokes are being caused by something else, closing a hole in the heart won't prevent them. If that is the cause, then of course closing the problem would help.

If nothing else, the research points to finding better tools, better resources to find the problem to fix, thus preventing future strokes.

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