Hailey Bieber posted a 12-minute video on Wednesday (April 27) explaining the medical emergency that sent her to a Los Angeles hospital last month with stroke-like symptoms. Bieber broke down the “very scary incident” on March 10 that began on a “normal day” while she was sitting at breakfast with husband Justin Bieber.
“We were in the middle of talking and all of a sudden, I felt this really weird sensation that kind of like, traveled down my arm from my shoulder all the way down to my fingertips, and it made my fingertips feel really numb and weird,” she said. “Justin was like, ‘Are you OK?’ and I just didn’t respond because I wasn’t sure. And then he asked me again and when I went to respond, I couldn’t speak. The right side of my face started drooping. I couldn’t get a sentence out. Everything was coming out like, not even jumble, just like, couldn’t get any of the words out.”
She said a lot of ideas ran through her head, the most prominent being: “I’m having a stroke. I’m really scared. I don’t know what’s going on.” The model was also worried that whatever was happening might result in some permanent issues. Husband Justin also thought she was having a stroke, so the singer asked someone to call 911 and, luckily for them, there was a medic on site where they were and that person began asking her questions and testing her arms.
She called it the “scariest moment” of her life, but luckily after around 30 seconds of the kind of typical facial drooping caused by strokes, her face went back to normal. But when the medic asked her basic questions about her name and where she was, Bieber said she could think of the answers but could not speak them. “It was like my tongue and my mouth could not form the sentences and the responses,” she said.
Able to walk again, Bieber returned home to wait for an ambulance as her speech began to return “a little bit.” She even had a bit of a laugh, recalling that the ambulance crew called in to the hospital to report that they were transporting a “30-year-old female” and Bieber was like, “I’m 25… I had to make sure they weren’t going to age me 5 years for no reason.”
Though anxious moments made her speech recede and the symptoms worse, Bieber said that by the time she got to the hospital things were pretty much “back to normal” and she could talk and had no issues with her face or arm. After a stroke test came up with a score of zero and no visible symptoms, follow-up scans showed a small blood clot in her brain caused by a TIA, or Transient Ischemic Attack, aka a “mini stroke.”
The Mayo Clinic describes a TIA as an event that produces stroke-like symptoms due to a brief blockage of the blood supply to the brain that typically lasts a few minutes and doesn’t cause permanent damage, with symptoms including numbness/weakness on one side of the body, trouble speaking and loss of balance; about 1 in 3 people who suffer TIAs will eventually have a full-blown stroke, with half occurring within a year after the TIA, according to the Clinic.
Hailey said her body resolved the issue pretty quickly and she began to feel better, but while she was in the ER overnight she underwent “tons” of tests, including a “bubble echo,” in which a small amount of saline is mixed with some blood, shaken up and injected into your arm to see if any bubbles escape from your heart.
Helpfully posting definitions of medical terms on the screen, Bieber said the doctors looked for a “PFO” (Patent Foramen Ovale), which is a hole in the heart that didn’t properly close at birth. They also concluded a few crucial things: she had recently started birth control that she should not have been on because of her migraines, she had also recently flown from to and from Paris without getting up or moving around or wearing compression socks and that she had recently had COVID, which they thought was “a contributing factor.”
All those things combined into a “perfect storm” leading to the blood clot, though it was unclear how it traveled to her brain. They told her, however, that she didn’t have a PFO, so after discharge she went to UCLA in search of more answers. There, the team did a Trans Cranial Doppler test, which uses sound waves to detect problems that could affect blood flow to the brain. The results showed that she had a “grade 5 PFO,” the highest grade you can have, meaning the blood clot traveled to her heart. Normally, she explained, the clot travels to the lungs, where it gets filtered out.
But Bieber said in her case it escaped through the hole in her heart and traveled to her brain. The recommendation was to have a PFO Closure, which involves going in through the femoral artery in the groin and traveling up into the heart and inserting a button that closes the hole in your heart. She said she recently got the PFO closure done and it went very smoothly.
“I’m recovering really well really fast. I feel great. The biggest thing I feel, honestly, is I just feel really relieved that we were able to figure everything out, that we were able to get it closed, that I will be able to just move on from this really scary situation and just live my life,” she said.
Calling it an “eye-opening” experience, Bieber said she was very anxious leading up to the Closure procedure, but has felt better since and is now on a daily blood thinning and aspirin regimen. She closed the video by thanking the team at Eisenhower Medical Center and UCLA who took care of her.
Watch Bieber’s video below.