Hailey Bieber on Friday marked a year since she suffered a mini-stroke that led to her diagnosis of patent foramen ovale (PFO), meaning she had a hole in her heart.
“Can’t believe it’s been one year since I suffered a mini stroke that led to my PFO diagnosis,” Bieber shared on her Instagram story. “Given that it’s the one-year mark from such a life-changing event, I wanted to share all the information I’ve learned about PFO and share resources to donate.”
The model and wife of Justin Bieber shared that PFO is the most common type of congenital heart condition, affecting 20% of people “with 60% occurrence among 1st degree relatives,” citing information from UCLA Health, where she went after her mini-stroke.
She added that “60% of people who have a stroke without a known cause are likely to have PFO.”
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“PFO is a passage way between the left and right atria of the heart. It exists in everyone before birth, but in most people closes after birth but doesn’t close for around one out of every four people,” she shared in another slide on her Instagram story.
In April, the 26-year-old posted a YouTube video describing what she experienced when she had the mini-stroke March 10, 2022.
She said she was having a normal morning, out eating breakfast with her husband when “and all of a sudden I felt this really weird sensation that kind of like traveled down my arm from my shoulder all the way down to my fingertips and it made my fingertips feel really numb and weird.”
She said after her husband asked her if she was OK she realized she couldn’t speak and the right side of her face started drooping.
Bieber said she was really “scared,” sitting there thinking she’d had a “full-blown” stroke as a doctor who happened to be at the restaurant began asking her questions like, “Do you know who you are?” She said she knew the answers but couldn’t speak them.
Her symptoms were normal by the time she arrived at a hospital, but scans revealed she had suffered a blot clot in her brain called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), commonly called a mini-stroke.
Doctors finally discovered her PFO after doing a bubble echo.
According to her doctors, Beiber said, the combination of her starting to take birth control pills, having COVID-19 and staying seated on a flight from Paris contributed to a “perfect storm” leading up to her mini-stroke.
She said doctors discovered she had a “fairly large” PFO that was between 12 and 13 centimeters, the “highest” grade possible.
“The conclusion was that I had a blood clot that traveled into my heart. And instead of what typically happens if you have a small blood clot is the heart will filter the blood clot to your lungs. And your lungs will absorb the blood clot because the lungs are so big, and they can handle it,” she explained. “What happened with me is my blood clot actually escaped through the flap or the hole in my heart, and it traveled to my brain and that is why I suffered a TIA.”
Bieber had a “PFO closure” procedure done soon after. A button-like object was placed over the hole in the heart and “eventually your heart tissue grows back over the closure device.”
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The procedure went “smoothly,” and she was prescribed a blood thinner, Bieber said, adding that she was mainly “relieved” that she could move on with her life normally.