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Bret Michaels undergoes heart surgery

By Alan Duke, CNN
  • The hole in Michaels' heart was found last May
  • Surgery was delayed while Michaels toured
  • Michaels was treated for a brain hemorrhage last April

(CNN) -- Arizona surgeons repaired a hole in rocker Bret Michaels' heart Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The hole, medically known as a patent foramen ovale, was discovered last April while Michaels was being treated for a brain hemorrhage at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

"Without treatment for the PFO, Michaels could be at risk for developing blood clots and additional stroke," hospital spokeswoman Carmelle Malkovich said.

Michaels, 47, delayed the surgery until this month to allow him to complete a concert tour and appear on the season finale of the reality show "Celebrity Apprentice," which he won last summer.

"Doctors will insert a catheter into a vein in the groin and guide wires and a PFO closure device into the heart with imaging assistance to close the PFO," said a hospital statement issued prior to the surgery. "The device will remain in Michaels' heart permanently to stop abnormal blood flow between the two chambers of the heart."

The hole is believed to have caused a "warning stroke" Michaels suffered in May during his brain treatment. The singer felt the left side of his body growing numb, prompting him to return to the hospital that treated him for a massive brain hemorrhage in April, his publicist said at the time.

His doctors concluded that Michaels had suffered a transient ischemic attack, or warning stroke, that was prompted by a hole in his heart, Malkovich said.

The heart problem was probably not related to Michaels' brain hemorrhage, said Dr. Joseph Zabramski, the neurosurgeon who treated his brain hemorrhage.

Michaels was the lead singer for the '80s glam-metal "hair band" Poison. He became a reality TV star by headlining the VH1 show "Rock of Love With Bret Michaels" as well as appearing on "Celebrity Apprentice."

His "Roses & Thorns" tour with the Bret Michaels Band was interrupted when the singer was stricken by an excruciating headache on April 22.

Doctors at the Barrow Neurological Institute, a part of St. Joseph's Hospital, diagnosed him with a rupture in his brain, but they never pinpointed the cause.

Michaels was released from the hospital 12 days later.