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Monday 19th March 2018

Heart defect self repair kit

13th August 2007

A common heart defect linked with stroke and migraine is being treated by experts who have discovered a new way to get the body’s natural healing process to treat the condition.

heart surgery

The procedure is being used to treat people with patent foramen ovale (PFO). While the condition, which sees patients suffer with a valve-like hole in the heart, can be treated surgically with a graft, the process causes damage to surrounding tissue in some cases.

But now a team at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital is using a “bio-absorbable? patch to treat the problem. It creates a temporary plug as the body replaces it with healthy tissue over about one month.

PFO does not necessarily produce symptoms but can increase the risk of stroke or migraine.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Michael Mullen has been using the technique to treat his patients and said: “Traditional grafts are permanent and so can cause an inflammatory reaction, which can lead to problems.

"Instead, this treatment does the repair job and then disappears in a natural way. The healing is very similar to how the body would heal itself normally.?

He has treated about 70 patients with the technique and some have reported relief from migraine but he stressed that larger studies were needed to confirm the finding.

At present the device is only licensed for minimising risk to stroke patients.

In the UK there are about six million people who get migraines and Paul Jansen of the Migraine Action Association said the findings offered some hope to migraine sufferers.


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