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I am an avid cyclist (38 year old male) that rides over ten hours a week and is currently training for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in August. During my longer training rides I often develop migraines that severely affect my ability to complete and finish long bike rides
(over 5 hours in duration). I visited with a neurologist and he suggested that I get tested for PFO. I should point out that I have tried various drugs(relpax, imitrex, etc.,etc.) and various combinations of foods and hydration products and nothing worked to reduce my migraines.

Yesterday I had a TEE and was diagnosed with a small PFO. The cardiologist that administered TEE said he would not bother getting my PFO closed. However, my neurologist thinks I should explore the option as he think it will likely cure my migraine problem. He thinks the right to left shunting of blood is exacerbated by high intensity training.

Knowing this I have a few questions:

1. Will a PFO closure device negatively affect me as an athlete? Are their risks of the device dislodging under high intensity racing? Or are there other risks I should be aware of that are associated with a PFO closure implant and athletes?

2. If I do get a PFO closure device installed will I see an improvement in my cardiovascular performance by eliminating the right to left shunting I am likely experiencing now during high training and racing?

3. What does the recuperation process look after a PFO closure? How long before I can return to my normal training regime? Are their long-term affects I should be aware of?


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