Survivor Stories: David Dansereau

David Dansereau is a stroke survivor and health professional with a private physical therapy and nutrition consulting practice in Rhode Island. It was revealed after months of testing (and still some uncertainty) that his stroke was caused by a defect in his heart from birth called a patent-foramen-ovale or PFO. This is the same defect that caused Tedy Bruschi of the New England Patriots stroke at the end of the 2005 football season.

What is a patent foramen ovale? It is a defect or an incomplete closure in the walls of the chambers of the heart. A patent foramen ovale can vary in size but the location is usually the same. The flap like opening or hole is in the dividing wall (septum) between the upper two chambers of the heart – the left atrium and the right atrium. Identifying a PFO is important because a PFO is a potential pathway for a blood clot to escape from the heart and travel to the brain, causing a stroke.

David’s own experiences and uncertain medical course inspired him to take action. As a physical therapist, David is currently developing an online resource for stroke survivors to improve patient education and compliance with their home rehabilitation program. In 2007, he underwent PFO closure.

David resides in Cumberland, Rhode Island with his wife and three young children. He enjoys coaching his children in all their sport endeavors, as well as playing ice hockey, camping and running marathons. David is involved as a volunteer and spokesperson with Tedy’s Team, a division of the American Stroke Association dedicated to raising stroke awareness and funding research and resources for stroke survivors.

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