Kathryn's story

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Young athlete and cryptogenic stroke survivor. See Kathryn's story and what she decided to do to move her life forward after a cryptogenic stroke.

About stroke and PFO

Stroke is the leading preventable cause of long-term severe disability 1

Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death 1

1/3 of ischemic strokes are classified as cryptogenic, or due to unknown cause 2

A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a hole occurring in the tissue between the left and right atria of the heart.

25% of people have a PFO 3

Up to 40% - 50% of patients who have had a cryptogenic stroke have a PFO 3



THE “HOLE” TRUTH ABOUT CRYPTOGENIC STROKE

WHAT IS A PFO?

Before birth, a baby’s heart will have a hole with a flap-like covering between the upper two chambers of the heart. This opening (the foramen ovale) allows blood rich in oxygen from the mother to bypass the baby’s lungs which do not function until the baby is born. After birth, the flap-like covering will typically close the hole permanently. However, in about one out of every four individuals, the hole in the heart will remain open. This is called a patent foramen ovale or PFO. 

HOW CAN A PFO CAUSE A STROKE?

From time to time, a PFO may permit blood to pass from the right side of the heart to the left side of 
the heart bypassing the normal route of going through the lungs first. In most people, a PFO creates no symptoms and requires no treatment. However, in a small minority, a PFO may permit blood clots to pass from the right side of the heart to the left side possibly leading to a stroke.

HOW CAN A DOCTOR TELL IF I HAD A CRYPTOGENIC STROKE?

A medical team, including a neurologist and a cardiologist, will conduct tests to look for the cause of your stroke. These tests include collecting images of your brain, heart, and blood vessels (using ultrasound, CT and / or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] scans), monitoring your heart rhythm, and blood tests. If your doctors do not find any likely cause of your stroke from this testing, they may conclude that you had a cryptogenic stroke.

HOW IS A PFO FOUND?

A PFO is found by a cardiologist using ultrasound pictures of the heart (echocardiogram or echo). The ultrasound uses sound waves to evaluate the structure of the heart and the direction of blood flow to see if blood can pass from the right side of the heart to the left side.

COULD A PFO BE THE CAUSE OF MY CRYPTOGENIC STROKE?

If no other identifiable cause of the stroke can be found, your doctors may conclude that the PFO played an important role by permitting a blood clot to pass from the right side of your heart to the left side and blocking a blood vessel that supplies the brain.

WHAT IS THE GORE® CARDIOFORM SEPTAL OCCLUDER AND WHAT IS IT MADE OF?

The GORE® CARDIOFORM Septal Occluder is a minimally invasive device intended for the closure of a PFO using cardiac catheterization. It is a permanent implant consisting of a near circular wire frame covered with thin ePTFE material. The soft, conformable ePTFE material, invented and manufactured by Gore, has been used in open-heart surgery for more than 40 years and has been shown to be safe in implanted medical devices. The wire frame is made of a nickel-titanium metal alloy called nitinol with a platinum core (so that it may be seen on X-ray images).

HOW EFFECTIVE IS PFO CLOSURE IN REDUCING THE RISK OF RECURRENT ISCHEMIC STROKE?

The Gore REDUCE Clinical study demonstrated a 77% relative stroke reduction with PFO closure plus medical therapy vs. medical therapy alone*,4

The Gore REDUCE Clinical Study is the only U.S. IDE trial that achieved its primary end point and showed the largest reduction in recurrent ischemic stroke *,4 in all PFO shunt sizes over medical therapy alone.

Ask your doctor if Gore GORE® CARDIOFORM Septal Occluder is right for you.

Important Information

This information is intended for education and awareness only. Patients should consult their physician for information on the risks associated with the devices and surgical procedures discussed in this website. All surgical procedures carry potential health risks. Not all patients will be candidates for treatment with these devices, and individual outcomes may vary.

Always follow physician advice on your post-surgery care and recovery.

Refer to the Instructions for Use for a complete list of warnings, precautions, contraindications, potential adverse events, and patient-specific information.

Caution: U.S. law restricts use of this device on the order of a physician (Rx).

References

* The REDUCE study determined safety and efficacy of patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure with the GORE® CARDIOFORM Septal Occluder or GORE® HELEX® Septal Occluder plus antiplatelet medical management compared to antiplatelet medical management alone in patients with a PFO and history of cryptogenic stroke. All PFO anatomies were incorporated into this study within indicated sizing parameters of the Instructions for Use.

1.) American Stroke Association. Web site. http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/Impact-of-Stroke-Stroke-statistics_UCM_310728_Article.jsp#.Wp7dIGr4-pr . Accessed March 6, 2018.

2.) American Heart Association / American Stroke Association, Inc. Web site. Understanding diagnosis and treatment of cryptogenic stroke.  https://www.strokeassociation.org/idc/groups/stroke-public/@wcm/@hcm/@sta/documents/downloadable/ucm_477051.pdf. Published 2015. Accessed March 6, 2018.

3.) American Heart Association, Inc. Web site. Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO). http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiovascularConditionsofChildhood/Patent-Foramen-Ovale-PFO_UCM_469590_Article.jsp#.Wp7sFWr4-pp. Published March 2017. Accessed March 6, 2018.

4.) Søndergaard L, Kasner SE, Rhodes JF, et al; Gore REDUCE Study Investigators. Patent foramen ovale closure or antiplatelet therapy for cryptogenic stroke. New England Journal of Medicine 2017;377(11):1033-1042.