Hailey Bieber Shared an Update On Her Health Scare — She Suffered a 'Mini Stroke'

The model is on the mend after having a procedure to close a small hole in her heart called a PFO.

Hailey Bieber at 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party against an orange background
Photo: Getty Images

Hailey Bieber is opening up about a serious health scare.

On March 12, the 25-year-old revealed in her Instagram Stories that she was hospitalized for "stroke like symptoms" a few days prior. "They found I had suffered a very small blood clot to my brain, which caused a lack of oxygen, but my body had passed it on its own and I recovered completely within a few hours," she wrote in her Story. "...This was definitely one of the scariest moments I've ever been through."

Now, Bieber is giving her fans even more information about what she experienced and sharing resources in the hopes of helping others who may go through something similar. In a YouTube video posted on April 27, the model provides details about her "scary incident."

She explains that she felt a "weird sensation" that spread from her shoulder down her arm to her fingertips, which felt numb. She was unable to respond to questions, and then the right side of her face "started drooping." She thought she was having a stroke, she said.

A stroke occurs when there is decreased blood flow to the brain, reducing oxygen and potentially causing brain cells to die, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Regardless of the cause, a stroke can trigger sudden symptoms such as numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body), confusion, difficulty talking or walking, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, dizziness, loss of balance, and severe headache, according to the NIH.

"My tongue and my mouth just could not form the sentences and the responses, so obviously that was really scary," Bieber says of her experience in the clip. She was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and while her speech mostly returned on the way there, her anxiety made the situation worse, Bieber says in the video. By the time she was in the emergency room, her symptoms were gone, she says. (

Scans showed she'd "suffered a small blood clot" to her brain called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is essentially "a mini stroke," according to Bieber. A TIA is caused by a blood clot blocking blood supply to the brain. ICYDK, a blood clot is a mass of blood that forms when platelets, proteins, and cells in the blood stick together, according to the National Library of Medicine. In normal circumstances, blood clots help stop bleeding when you're injured and, after healing starts to take place, break down on their own. But in some cases, too many or abnormal blood clots develop, they form in places they shouldn't, or they don't break down — all of which can lead to severe health problems, according to the NLM.

Symptoms of a TIA usually last just a few minutes and don't cause permanent damage, but a TIA may be a sign that someone will later have a stroke, according to the Mayo Clinic. After staying in the hospital overnight and undergoing a series of tests, Bieber was discharged without a concrete answer for what caused the TIA, she says in her update.

However, her doctors did reason that the blood clot itself could be linked to three things: Bieber had recently started taking birth control pills, had COVID-19, and traveled to and from Paris in a short period of time, she notes. Bieber explains in the video that she started a new form of oral contraceptives without disclosing to her doctor that she experiences migraines. Studies have found oral contraceptives may up users' risk of stroke and have linked an increased risk of stroke to those who are prone to migraines and use contraceptives containing estrogen, specifically.

Additionally, some individuals who have had COVID-19 seem to be experiencing abnormal blood clotting that can lead to a stroke, as the virus can trigger a "massive inflammatory response," according to information published by John Hopkins Medicine. Finally, Bieber says she slept through two long-haul flights without getting up to move. Traveling for more than four hours at a time can put someone at risk for blood clots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The doctors came to the conclusion that it was a perfect storm that led to me having a small blood clot," she recounts in the video.

Still searching for answers about how the clot traveled to her brain, Bieber had more tests done and was diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale (PFO), which is a small opening in the heart that normally closes after birth. Doctors tested her for this condition during her first hospital visit, but it took a "more accurate" test to find the Grade 5 PFO, the highest grade you can have, says Bieber in the clip.

"Mine was fairly large, but at this point, too, I was just grateful that they found it," she goes on to note. "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 shared that she's since had a procedure done called a PFO closure to close the flap in her heart with a device that heart tissue eventually grows over. "That's it, and then you have it forever, and you continue on with normal life," she says in her video. The model said the procedure "went very smoothly" and she's recovering "really well, really fast." She's now on a blood thinner and takes aspirin every day.

"If there's anybody that watches this that has gone through the same thing or something similar, I definitely really empathize with you, and I understand how life-altering and scary it is," she says.

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