Hailey Bieber reflects on her health one year after being hospitalized on March 10, 2022, for a transient ischemic attack, also known as a small stroke.
Bieber commemorated the occasion on her Instagram story on March 10. In one picture, she re-shared a video from April in which she discussed what triggered the small stroke and how it led to her diagnosis of patent foramen ovale, or PFO.
“Can’t believe it’s been 1 year since I suffered a mini stroke that led to my PFO diagnosis,” she wrote. “Given that it’s the 1 year mark from such a life changing event, I wanted to share all the information I’ve learned about PFO and share resources to donate.”
In November, Bieber also opened up about her experience with a large and painful ovarian cyst and shut down pregnancy rumors.
“I have a cyst on my ovary the size of an apple,” the 26-year-old said in an Instagram story. “I don’t have endometriosis or PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) but I have gotten an ovarian cyst a few times and it’s never fun.”
Bieber wanted to utilize her position to raise awareness of PFO in a series of slides released on March 10, citing information from UCLA Health and the university’s medical school.
What is a PFO?
A PFO is defined as a “small hole between the two upper chambers of the heart, the right and left atrium,” according to UCLA Health. The atrial septum ordinarily separates the right and left atria, preventing blood from flowing between the two chambers, but with a PFO, a tiny quantity of blood can flow between both atria.
According to UCLA Health, the hole between the atria is common before delivery, although it usually closes after birth. While the majority of PFOs do not cause symptoms and do not necessitate treatment, some can result in problems such as a stroke. Although PFOs are not the cause of most strokes, they can raise the risk of stroke in some people.
According to the American Heart Association, more than a quarter of the population has a PFO, and the majority of patients have no negative health consequences.
Bieber said in an Instagram story in March 2022 that she had “stroke-like symptoms” while having breakfast with her husband, singer Justin Bieber. After being admitted to the hospital, Bieber stated that doctors discovered she “had suffered a very minor blood clot” in her brain, resulting in a shortage of oxygen.
The following month, Bieber spoke more in depth about what caused her to enter the hospital in a video shared on Instagram and YouTube.
In the video, she said she experienced a “weird sensation” while eating breakfast with her husband. The feeling traveled from her right arm down to her numb fingertips. She said that she was also unable to speak and that right side of her face began to droop, which caused her to believe she had a stroke.
At the hospital, she stated that physicians discovered she had a little blood clot in her brain. The clot was classified as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, which is defined as “a momentary obstruction of blood flow to the brain” by the American Stroke Association.
Her doctors blamed the small stroke on three possible causes: birth control pills, a recent COVID-19 diagnosis, and being diagnosed with a grade 5 PFO.
“The conclusion was that I had a blood clot that traveled into my heart and instead of — what typically happens if you have a small blood clot is that the heart will filter the blood clot to your lungs and your lungs will absorb it,” she said. “What happened with me is my blood clot actually escaped through the flap, or the hole in my heart, and it traveled to my brain and that is why I suffered a TIA.”
Bieber said that she ultimately underwent a procedure to close the PFO. She said that with time, the heart tissue in her body will grow over the closure device.