Jason's story

Jason visited us back in March 2023, to have a bubble echocardiogram; a non-invasive diagnostic test used to identify the hole in his heart.

Bubble Echocardiogram

Jason visited us for Bubble Echocardiograma non-invasive diagnostic test to identify a hole in the heart. Unlike a standard echocardiogram (heart ultrasound), a bubble echo uses an injection of saline (mixed with your blood to form tiny bubbles) to identify a hole in the heart called a patent foramen ovale (PFO).

Jason is a diver, and after 1,000 dives, he wondered what he had done differently. Was there something he had done wrong? He wondered if his body was trying to warn him of something more serious.

PFO Test

"During the week spent at Midlands Diving Chamber going in for each day for recompression treatment, I was able to speak with the Doctor, Dr Iqbal Malik, who suggested I look at getting a test called a Bubble Echo to see whether I had a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO), or more affectionally referred to as a ‘hole in the heart’!"

Jason contacted our Cardiology team at OneWelbeck and visited us for a Bubble Echo test. The simple procedure injects saline with microscopic bubbles into your arm while monitoring your heart via ultrasound to see if the bubbles move across your heart. The bubbles flurried across the screen, monitoring me, and the Doctor said, "Yep, that's a positive PFO!"”

A month and a half later

Jason revisited us, this time for a closer inspection of the heart with a procedure called a Transoesophageal Echocardiography (or a TEO). This involved putting him to sleep and putting a tiny camera down his throat for a more detailed look.

The good news was the hole in his heart was suitable for a 'cocoon' device, which the consultant called an ‘umbrella’. Two weeks later, with the pre-op checks done, closing the hole in Jason's heart involved an incision in his groin into the femoral artery to the heart before deploying the umbrella to pop into the space where the hole is.

Jason expressed how the recovery was as seamless as he had hoped.

Final thoughts

"A couple of dressing changes, limited mobility, and a few blood-thinning pills and four weeks later, I was back at hospital for another bubble echo to see how my heart and the umbrella were getting acquainted. Down I lay again, but with a different amount of apprehension, this time wondering to what extent my heart had accepted or rejected the foreign object.’ “all good news, it’s closed. There’s no reason for you to come back here and I see no reason why you can’t go back to diving’. I’ve never felt my breath slow as much as it did in that moment, as I realised, I knew I was fixed, I could go back to the very thing that has inspired me and been a passion for 16 years of my life, I would be able to teach and share this wonderful passion with others once again - I can scuba dive once again!