How Long Will It Take To Recover From PFO & How Long Do The Symptoms Last?

After the patent foramen ovale repair procedure, tenderness is expected in the procedure site with possible chest sensations which lasts for 2-6 weeks.1,2

In many instances, transient ischemic stroke is the first sign of patent foramen ovale occurring in people who are aged 55 and above without having a known cause.3

The typical symptoms of PFO such as fatigue, difficulty in speaking, blurred visions, sudden weakness, or numbness in several parts of the body, and migraine headaches are very similar to a stroke.4.

In the past foramen ovale was identified and closed during open-heart surgery. But with the advancement in medical technologies, and with several diagnostic tests, it has become a lot easier to identify the disorder.

How Long Will It Take To Recover From PFO?

Based on the size of the hole and the complications involved PFO closure is done using Cardiac catheterization, a less invasive procedure.

What To Expect Prior To The Procedure?

  • You will be required to discuss your medical history and choice of procedure with your healthcare provider
  • Diagnostics test and blood work will be done to ensure the normal levels of sugar and pressure levels and also to assure the clotting function.
  • Your doctor will advise stopping the medicines such as warfarin and Coumadin a few days prior temporarily
  • It is advisable to inform your doctor about medicine/dye allergy if any

What To Expect During The Procedure?

  • On the day of the procedure, you will be instructed not to eat or drink after midnight.
  • Anesthesia will be given to help you relax and make you feel better
  • Your heartbeat, palpitations, and pressure levels are closely monitored
  • A procedure is performed by inserting a catheter tube with the help of digital and echocardiography

Your Doctor Will Suggest The Do’s And Don’ts After The Procedure

  • You can drive the car after 48 hours but long drives not advisable. Although there are no specific driving restrictions, yet you need to allow time for the wound in your groin to heal appropriately
  • Climb stairs but limit your trips
  • After the first week of the surgery, you can begin your physical activities at a slow pace
  • Sexual activities can be involved after 3 days of the procedure
  • Avoid lifting or perform any strenuous activity for 3 days as this may increase the pressure in the groin area and make the wound likely to bleed
  • You will need to continue to take aspirin and clopidogrel to thin your blood and prevent large clots formed at the procedure site1.2.

How Long Do The Symptoms Of Patent Foramen Ovale Last?

You can expect tenderness or a small bump where the procedure was performed. A small amount of bruising is commonly noticed at the procedure site. Some of the typical symptoms noticed after the procedure are

  • Chest palpitations
  • Chest discomfort
  • Pressure3

When your wound starts bleeding, lie down immediately, and press firmly against the wound with your finger until the bleeding stops. If it persists, seek immediate medical emergency. You should also watch for problems such as fever, pus/ infection at the procedure site, shortness of breath, or severe pain or swelling around the wound.

Most symptoms and discomforts may last for 2-6 weeks after the procedure. Many times, stroke is the first sign of patent foramen ovale, and they resemble very similar symptoms. Typical symptoms of stroke and TIA include sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arms, or one side of the body, trouble speaking, loss of balance, and partial paralysis.4

References:

  1. Araszkiewicz, Aleksander, et al. “Long-Term Follow-up after Percutaneous Closure of Patent Foramen Ovale with Amplatzer PFO Occluder: a Single Center Experience.” Postepy w KardiologiiInterwencyjnej = Advances in Interventional Cardiology, Termedia Publishing House, 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777706/.
  2. “Patent Foramen Ovale Transcatheter Repair.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/patent-foramen-ovale-transcatheter-repair.
  3. “Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO).” Cleveland Clinic PFO and its symptoms, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17326-patent-foramen-ovale-pfo.
  4. Ellis, Mary Ellen. “Patent Foramen Ovale: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 29 Sept. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/patent-foramen-ovale.

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