Jan Sørensen is a 57-year-old active man. He goes horseback riding, mountain biking – and of course he attends to his job as a police officer.

When he was 46 years old he had a terrible surprise. One morning he had symptoms of a stroke and was taken by ambulance to Aarhus University Hospital. He was treated with medicine, but there was no immediate explanation to why Jan Sørensen suddenly suffered a stroke.

Later doctors found out that the stroke resulted from a blood clot formed in a hole in the atrium of the heart – a condition that 25% of the population are born with. This hole was closed by a simple procedure where a closing mechanism is inserted through the veins in the groin. The mechanism closes the hole by placing a disc on each side of the hole in the atrium.

Today Jan Sørensen does not have any side effects caused by the hole in the atrium. Ater the stroke he returned to work quite quickly and resumed being physically active. This has not changed although it is 11 years ago since he went through the procedure.

At Aarhus University Hospital this procedure is performed in approximately 100 patients a year. The hospital has for a number of years investigated the best way to treat patients with a hole in the atrium. Researchers have compared results of closing the hole surgically and lifelong treatment with blood-thining medicine.

New reserach shows a clear benefit in patients who are treated surgically as these patients experience fewer repeated strokes. In the future it is expected that more patients at Aarhus University Hospital will benefit from the surgical closing of the hole in the atrium.

A large Nordic conference, Nordic Stroke 2017,  is held in Aarhus on 23-25 August 2017. A number of researchers from Aarhus University Hospital will present their recent results in stroke research at the conference.