Significant medical research has been conducted on the effectiveness of PFO closure in preventing a stroke. The findings of this research have shown a significant lowering of recurring stroke risk among patients who have had previous strokes.
In a study known as the Randomized Evaluation of Recurrent Stroke Comparing PFO Closure to Established Current Standard of Care Treatment (RESPECT Trial), the risk of having a second stroke was about 45%–62% less in people who had the PFO device closure than in those who used blood thinners alone. However, it’s important to know that the RESPECT Trial found both methods to be very effective.
What happens once the PFO is closed?
- Your medical team will review all information with you regarding your procedure and recovery.
- You’ll go home from the hospital with only a small bandage covering the site where the device was inserted.
- It’s likely your medical team will tell you to take showers, rather than baths, and avoid swimming/hot tubs for several days in order to be sure the site remains clean.
- While infection of the site is unlikely, you’ll be told what symptoms to look for and if you should call your doctor.
- Your doctor may provide you with recommendations of what to eat or drink when you first get home from the hospital. Be sure to ask if you have any questions.
- Other precautions will be discussed with you:
- You should wait at least 48 hours until you drive a car.
- You can use stairs as necessary; however, you shouldn’t put undue stress on your leg where the procedure was performed.
- You can walk at a normal pace, or at a comfortable one, soon after going home; however, your doctor will let you know when you can go back to your normal exercise routine. Typically, your doctor will ask you to refrain from strenuous exercises for about one month following device implantation.
- You should ask your doctor about when you can go back to work, as it may vary depending upon the type of job you do.
- You should also ask when you can resume normal sexual relations and when you can travel safely.
- You may be sent home from the hospital with prescription medication; make sure your doctor knows if you already use any other prescription medication or if you’re taking any vitamins or supplements. In addition, make sure your doctor knows about any plans you may have for dental surgery or other procedures, since you may be required to observe special precautions or take specific prescriptions, such as antibiotics, in advance.