PFO (Hole in the heart)

I just found out yesterday that a test I had 2 years ago showed I have a PFO or hole in the heart. It has been in my file the whole time but no one ever bothered to notice or tell me. Now I have to take a baby aspirin everyday & go back to have it looked at again. Does anyone have this or know of anyone that has it? It seems very tied to migraines from what I can see. Some research has shown having it closed can reduce or even eliminate migraines. I have no idea if this has any bearing on my MAV but I’m so mad that they told me all my tests were normal back then and I should have been told about this 2 years ago! Anyone have any info about PFO’s? Thanks!

Boy I don’t blame you for being mad!! Who and why did they finally decide to tell you this? Are you going to meet with a specialist to see if fixing it could help you? I found out by looking at my own reports that I have a borderline Chiari malformation but the docs dismiss this as my problem. Good luck, maybe you have an answer.

ETA is this maybe why you had cardiac problems with the meds?

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ETA is this maybe why you had cardiac problems with the meds?

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That was my first thought when I read your post…

Are you seeing a cardiologist to find out what can be done about this condition. I would want to find out if this would make a difference in the medications you can or should take…it seems that would dictate what type med they would want to try you on. And how did you find out about this I would be beyond mad…that is totally uncalled for …

I remember reading about this a while back. They were doing some trials. I havent heard anything much recently. Wonder what the results were.


So this is my first time posting on this board but I do have some info on PFO. I’m from Utah and there is a doctor in Salt Lake who is doing many of these procedure to fix PFO. It is a simple outpatient procedure done with angiography that puts a little coil in the hole to stop it up. My aunt had the procedure a few months ago for migraines and has noticed a big difference. I would definitley look into this more. I am thinking about getting my heart checked as well because it tends to run in families. Hope this info helps. Marcy

My doc was running trials about this. We are all born with this whole and I think it is supposed to close either at birth or just before. Anyway, my doc says that many are probably walking around with this and don’t even know it. I am wantint to take the “test” to see if I have it, but it is 400.00 dollars and apparently not covered by insurance. My grandmother had horrible headaches and had several strokes, so I have been wondering if she maybe had a whole that bakc then just didn’t even know about testing for. My doc says he believes that there is a connection between strok, migraine and whole in heart. I understand the closing of the whole is a not so bad. Keep us posted.


I was tested for this, although if I had known what they were testing for I might not have bothered because I highly doubt I would have let anyone mess with my heart if I had it. I would have been too nervous. My understanding is approximately 25% of the general population walks around with this opening in the heart that did close properly around birth. This rate has been found to be higher in migrainers, so they believe there may be a connection. There are studies going on to find out if closing the hole helps. I haven’t read of any results, but I haven’t looked for anything since I found out I don’t have the opening. Does anyone know of any study results related to PFOs?

I don’t know anything about PFO’s but I’ve been told that I have a borderline Chiari malformation and apparently quite a few migrainers have those too. To fix that it’s brain surgery and I guess it doesn’t always work. Be careful and talk to your doc about it, better yet talk to another doc and get more opinions. If it’s not too drastic a surgery maybe it’s viable for you.

Good luck

My neurologist said the most recent studies have found that having the hole closed did not help migraines. But I have found studies that suggest otherwise. It seems like there hasn’t been enough research one way or the other on it. It definitely seems there is some connection though. In one study I read, 65% of migraineurs had a PFO whereas only 20-25% of the general population had one. I have an appt with a cardiologist on Fri to talk about the PFO and my other issues, palpitations, etc. So I’ll let you know what he says. It definitely is interesting though.

Hi Dzzygirl,
I just read in Dr. Bernstein’s book The Migraine Brain that many people with migraine absolutely find relief when their PFO is closed. And she also discusses that migrainers as you stated have a much higher rate of PFO’s as compared to the general population. She also points out that IBS is also seen in more migrainers as compared to the general population, as I know so many suffer with gut problems on the forum as well.
Good luck and keep us posted.

Well I had my appt with the cardiologist yesterday & he was adamant that PFO’s have nothing to do with migraines! I’m very frustrated because I thought this could be the answer for me. Instead he decided I needed to have all this other cardiac testing done to see about my palpitations & dizziness. I tried to tell him my dizziness was from MAV but I don’t think he even knew what MAV was. I’m not sure I want to go through with more testing! I guess it’s possible I have some other cardiac problem playing a role in all of this. Everytime I have a dr appt, I just leave feeling so frustrated. I wish I could find a doctor that would look at the whole picture. I feel like all my problems are stemming from one underlying condition that no one cares to find. My obgyn, neurologist & cardiologist think all my problems are unrelated & we have to treat each one separately. And thanks Lisa for letting me know about that book. I just reserved it at the library.

Every specialist has their own opinion and thus post was dated four years after the paper I read stating the exact opposite.