Lub-dup. Lub-dup. Lub-dup.
Heel-toe. Heel-toe. Heel-toe.
Maddie-Harper. Maddie-Harper. Maddie-Harper.
The cadence of the heart, the run, and the loves of Tom Reed.
He was 36 in 2018, playing on the kitchen floor with 5-year-old Harper, having just put 2-year-old Maddie to bed when "something happened." There was no loss of consciousness, no pain. There was, however, that bewildered expression on his daughter's face which turned increasingly worried. He realized that while he thought he was speaking to her, no words came out.
"I stood up, walked around the kitchen, sat back down and thought I was talking to her, but again, nothing," Reed said. “She was asking, 'What's wrong, daddy?' I could see the reaction in her face and tears starting to well up. I went to my wife who was getting ready for bed and I still couldn't speak. She told me to lift my arms. I could raise my left arm but not the right."
His wife, a nurse practitioner, immediately recognized the problem and got him to the hospital as quickly as possible. The rhythm of that night accelerated as the staff rushed to diagnose and treat his condition. This young, active father who went to the gym regularly had experienced a stroke.
After medication was administered and the clot in his brain dissolved, the search was on for the cause.
A Long Time Coming
Ultimately, the culprit was revealed to be a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a hole in the heart that didn't close the way it should have after birth, decades earlier. The hole, which sits between the upper heart chambers, develops while in the womb and typically closes during infancy.
The condition occurs in about 25% of people, yet most don’t require treatment for it, or even know they have it.
Reed was not so fortunate. "My interventional cardiologist gave me the diagnosis and explained that the PFO had not only caused the stroke but put me at risk for more of them," Reed said. "It was important to fix the hole and reduce that likelihood."
Fortunately, his surgeon believed he had just the tool for the job: Abbott’s PFO device (now available as the AmplatzerTM TalismanTM PFO Occluder), a big name for a small medical device designed specifically to repair the condition. This occluder -- one of several in the Structural Intervention portfolio at Abbott -- sets the standard, pioneering treatment developed specifically for PFO closure to reduce the chance of recurring ischemic strokes.
And Reed was focused on doing everything he could to prevent another stroke. "All I could think about was Maddie and Harper growing up and how I needed to not just be there for them, but to make sure I was the healthiest I could be."