Has anyone been diagnosed with having a hole in your heart?

Hello to all, I am new here. I found this website as I was visiting my cardio team's webpage. I have been having some test run for my heart. I'm 37 years old and have no other health problems except for underactive thyroid. I am experiencing shortness of breath (with little excertion), fatique and my heart feels like it's going to jump out of my chest sometimes. I have had a little pain from time to time, but nothing unbearable. Anyone out there had any of these symptoms?

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I, too have an underactive thyroid. One of the symptoms of this is fatigue. Have you recently had labs drawn to check your thyroid levels? The only time I have really experienced the shortness of breath and palpitations is when I've been hyperthyroid.

There are ladies here who have and are going through similar experiences as you and can help.


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Hello Teri,
How are you? I have my thyroid tested often and it is now at a normal level since my doctor gave me medicine for it. I had an echocardiagram about 2 weeks ago and it shows that I may have a hole in my heart. I'm not sure exactly what the symtoms are for that, but I know that they are similar to having a thyroid problem or even anemia. All my labs come back perfect for on my bloodwork.

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Hello Michelle,
I was born with the heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. It has three defects, one of them being a hole between the right and left ventrical. I had surgery to repair the hole when I was six years old. I was very exercise intolerant before my sugery. Fast forward 40 plus years, I still have issues left over from my congenital defect, and I was diagnosed with coronary artery disease in 2004 for which I have received a total of 7 stents. To answer your question, yes a hole in the heart can cause your issues. I would suggest that you contact an adult congenital heart specialist. Most holes in the heart are present from birth, some are not noticed, though, until adulthood. This can be a serious issue, so I am happy to hear that you are having tests run to find some answers!


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My Michelle,

I had 2X by-pass heart surgery in 1999 because of coronary blockages. I was 49 at the time. Just recently I had an echo done and the found a hole in my heart too. I just saw a stroke/Nerologist and he's going to do an angiogram of my Cartiode? arties as the MRI indicated something, but the pictures were not clear enough.

As for the "hole" he said they may or may not repair it. He said studies are going on right now as to weather patching it will stop future strokes or really make any difference.

I will be having the angio in the next 2 weeks sometime and we'll see what that shows. I am also waiting for an appointment with a Cartiologist too.

BTW, I have hashimoto diease and that definately throwes a ringer into things. I can be hard to sort out what is causing what sometimes.

I sounds like you are getting what ever it is in the early stages, that is good, it means they can probably help you the most :)
Good luck, Cheers Sandy W

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Hi ... there are a few types of holes. I had a PFO, which operates like a flap-valve. After having a "tiny" stroke last year, I had it closed (my doctors were all over the board on opinions of whether it was necessary or proven effective) and it was one of the smartest health decisions I've ever made.

My overall energy and health are 100% better. My breathing is improved, I have fewer migraines, and much more stamina. Plus, it's a comfort to know I won't have another stroke from the PFO.

There is a lot of info on the web about PFOs and ASDs (which is a pure hole, not a flap). Good luck!


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Hi, I am 32 years old and have had corrected VSD & ASD (hole in the upper two chambers and the lower two chambers). I did experience fatique and chest pain before my surgery. I am doing much better now, however I do have other heath problems. I have ashma, anemia and waiting a valve replacement. I see the Cartiologist every six months and in between if needed. Good luck!

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Katherine, that is very interesting. The Dr. refered to the hole as a PFO so it's interesting that you had yours repaired and are glad you did.

If you don't mind my asking, how did they repair it?
Cheers Sandy W

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Hi Sandy. I just read some more of your info and it sounds like we're in parallel universes.

I had double bypass for two LCAD blockages also and have been evaluated for MS this past year. The spinal tap is not so bad -- but if you can, wait until you resolve the PFO.

The PFO repair is very simple. It's basically a cath. They thread up through the groin and place a little umbrella (or some call it clam shell) device on one side of the hole; then draw through and put another matching shell on the other side of the hole. The hole is closed and then the tissue grows around it. You'll feel so-so for a few days and may have some headaches as your brain adjusts to life without unfiltered blood sneaking through the PFO. Then, like I said previously, you'll notice a big difference. My brain, lungs, everything felt better.

Mine was repaired by a pediatric cardiologist; they do so many of them, that was the recommendation of my cardiologist (who, by the way, didn't think I needed the procedure!).

I still have left arm numbness/pain (which was one of the reasons for the MS workup) but the neurologist says it's from the small stroke. Perhaps you've had one of these "PFO strokes" and that's a source of some of your neuro symptoms.

When you have a minute, google Tedi Bruschi -- he's an NFL player (Patriots, i think) and he had a PFO closure a few years ago because of a stroke.

Let me know what happens next ...

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Thanks everyone for the wonderful advice, I will let you know what my test results are when they become available. May God Bless, Michelle

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Hi Michelle,

The hole in my heart was repaired in 1998 along with an atrial septal defect. My PDA closed by itself in the next year or so. That left me with a common carotid, an abherrant subclavian artery, and an aortic arch that was one big aneurism. In 2001 the abherrant subclavian artery (it completely circled my vocal cord and esophagus) was repaired and attached to the carotid. One month later they took me apart again and replaced 2/3 of my aortic arch. Oh, by the way that incision started an inch from my left nipple, went between my ribs to my spine. As soon as they got that far, they stopped to figure out what was next, deflated my left lung and the aneurism burst. Good thing I was on the table at that time. There have been a few blips in the health department since then - like shattering my right heel and ankle, vocal cord paralized and 2 years ago I was diagnosed diabetic. I do not have the energy level I wish I had, experience shortness of breath (but not nearly as bad as it was). I have lost over 80 pounds since the first open heart surgery and 40 in the past 4 years. I did hit 64 this summer and have a large garden and huge yard, 5 dogs, and have a very busy sewing and quilting "business". 4 years ago I got re-married and it is one of the best things I have done.

As a child I had "asthma" which caused my family to move from Rhode Island to Colorado. And growing up I seemed to always have a dry, hacky cough, sore throat and bronchitis, losing my voice for weeks at a time. In 1992 I moved from the Denver area to the San Luis valley (8000+ feet altitude) and got very sick and was treated for asthma for 2 years before I demanded a referral to NJH in Denver, where they found what I did not have - pulmonary problems and they sent me to the Heart Center at University Hospital.

So, take care, seek a second opinion. Be comfortable with your doctor and ask questions until you understand your options.

From sunny Southern Colorado.

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Hello to all,
I just got my test results today and it showed that I had a small leaking valve which shouldn't be a problem. My cardiologist is putting my on a beta blocker for my heart racing. Has anyone taken this and if so, has it worked for you?

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Hello Michelle 70, I am new to this site, just found it after I to was just diagnosed with a hole in my heart. Finally after about two years of having chest pains, being hospitalized from having a what they called it a small heart attack, cardiac enzymes were elevated to heart attack level. This hospital kept me over night made me have a stress test the next morning and then told us this was a small heart attack and no damage and do not worry about the little one, just the big ones then released me with no follow-up or anything. This was about two years ago, and after being in three different hospitals the third one was the ticket. I was hospitalized with severe chest pain and left arm numbness, after being in the ER for about ten hours and test after tests they finally found the hole, a cardiologist specialist never gave up on me and new that there was something wrong. He diagnosed it as a PFO with Severe shunting from left to right, told me that I defienatly had to be on heart pills and needed a follow-up with him in two days. At the follow-up I was told that these specialist believe that my heart problems were not from the whole, and that they thought that the whole was functioning just fine, After telling me that they do not handel holes in the heart and have never dealt with them. About a month ago I was still having the heart pains and was diagnosed with Tachacardia, Bradycardia and irregular heart beat, all as I am taking my heart pills, they all are getting worse. So no just taking heart pills is not the answer well for me that is. I am scheduled for an Angiogram this Monday Feb the 2nd. Due to all of the new symptoms that my heart is going through. I wish you luck and hope the best for you. I hope I did not rambel on I ahve been through so much lately that I could write a book.

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Hi Michelle,

If you look uo ASD it will show you that 30% of the population has a hole in their heart. It is the ones that have symptoms that NEED to have it corrected. You described my life before my surgery. Cold hands and feet, they where blue actually. I would climb stairs and get dizzy. I would have these weird dizzy spells, felt like I was going to faint and then my heart would speed up like I ran a race. In surgery they found a hole the size of a dime, a second the size of a quarter an abcese, cannot spell, sorry. The right side of my heart was enlarged. I say second opinion for you!

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Hey girl!
I've been having pain in my heart.
Everytime my heart beats, it feels like it's going to explode.
Do you think I have a problem?

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hi, just reading all about our hearts on here and have put a couple topics on here. i was born with a hole in my heart 52 yrs ago and i just had a heart attack last year before thanksgiving waking up one night not being able to catch my breath and swelling up feet and legs it was terrible ,it was water retention/fluid buildup from waist down until i went to emergency room jan 4th 2010 and ended up getting a pacemaker/defiblirator put in. thought it was the flu and thought it would go away back in november but it just got worse could have died. now i feel ok and better...

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