Random Jottings

PFO Closure surgery.....at last!

As part of the investigation into my 'major bend' of 2012 Dr Turner and the team at Bristol found that I had a very small PFO, or a shunt between sections of my heart. I had been booked in for surgery and at last I was 'invited down'.



The procedure is very simple, a local anasthetic and then various 'implements' are inserted through the femoral vein. There is a 'live' x-ray over the heart so that the team can see what they are doing, they insert a stent and jobs a 'good un', simple!

Well, yes it was simple, or simpleish! The first issue was that I have very flexible veins which is a good thing in general but makes breaking into them a bit of a bugger as they just spring out of the way but after a couple of goes the team were in.

It was quite interesting watching the op on a big screen but no so good when after 5 minutes the team admit that they can't find the hole! Well I knew it was small but it's there, honest, some saline and bubbles were injected and hey presto the hole was found!

There was still lots of fun and games, the holes was the shape of a funnel and the team were going in through the small end which meant more delicate manouvering and measuring, the outcome of which was that an '18' stent was required, apparently thats very small.

Now all of this work inside the heart was being done without local painkillers or sedatives and whilst there was no pain it was a very strange sensation, like being touched with a stiff wire. The only strange feeling was when the stent was fitted and tugged, again not pain, just strange.

The various anti-clotting drugs mean that I bleed and bruise easily and I have a 6 week then 6 month check up to confirm that I can re-start diving, so fingers crossed there. On the plus point this six months is over the winter so I don't fel like I am loosing any diving opportunities, it could be worse an operation in March would have meant a lost year!

If its not fully sucessful then I guess there are choices to repeat the procedure or accept limitations, but this isn't going to happen!!!!

In summary I can heartily recommend Dr Turner and the team at Bristol if you have any heart related dive issues and as per my last diary entry.......

I can't but you can.....dive safe!!!

RichW

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