Less than a month after suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage, singer and musician Bret Michaels has suffered yet another setback in his health. According to Michaels’ Facebook page, the singer was hospitalized after apparently suffering a transient ischemic attack, also known as a TIA.
The hospitalization came after Michaels experienced numbness on the left side of his body. The numbness was concentrated mostly in his face and hands. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is known as a warning stroke, or a precursor to a stroke. According to the American Hearth Association, a TIA is characterized by stroke-like symptoms but usually has no lasting damage to the patient. Transient Ischemic Attacks can be predictors of strokes later in the patient.
After this hospitalization, MRI and CT scans were conducted on Bret Michaels as well as a Doppler ultrasound of his legs and lower abdomen. The Doppler ultrasound was conducted to check for blood clots. As part of the Doppler ultrasound, an Ultrasound Bubble Test was conducted to check Michaels’ heart and doctors discovered a hole.
This hole in Bret Michaels’ heart is known as Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO). According to the Mayo Clinic, Patent Foramen Ovale is a congenital condition which allows blood to flow back and forth between the heart’s right and left atrium. Patent Foramen Ovale may increase a patient’s risk for strokes and migraines.
Michael’s doctors confirmed the results of the ultrasound. Michaels’ Facebook page quoted one of his doctors, Dr. Zabramski – a neurosurgeon – as saying that the hole is of great concern but can be treated.
“There is no doubt that the positive Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is devastating news to Bret and his family. The good news is that it is operable and treatable and we think we may have diagnosed the problem that caused the Transient Ischemic Attach (TIA) or warning stroke; however we feel it is highly unlikely this is connected to the brain hemorrhage he suffered just a few weeks earlier. Once again it is great that he quickly reacted to the severe numbness and got to the hospital immediately,” Dr. Zabramski said.
Dr. Zabramski went on to praise Bret Michaels’ positive attitude toward his recovery, but cautioned that he is not out of the woods yet.
“. . .Bret’s brain and body are not quite 100% yet, especially with the hole found in his heart. Further tests will be conducted throughout the week and I will have more information next week as to how this Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) will be treated. For now, Bret will be treated with outpatient care which includes a daily injection of Lovenox (a blood thinner to reduce the chance of blood clots) and blood tests,” Dr. Zabramski said.