Patent Foramen Ovale Closure
A foramen ovale is a small, flap-like hole that is naturally present between the top two chambers of an unborn baby’s heart. This hole should close on its own shortly after the baby is born. However, in 25% of people it doesn’t close completely and allows blood to flow between the top two chambers of the heart. This is called a patent foramen ovale (PFO).
Most PFOs do not cause symptoms and do not require treatment. However, some patients may be at increased risk of stroke with this condition and may benefit from a procedure to close the PFO.
Studies have found that PFOs appear to be more common in patients who have had unexplained strokes. In these cases, small blood clots that would normally stay on one side of the heart may pass through a PFO and travel to the brain to cause a stroke. In some cases of unexplained strokes, a catheter-based PFO closure procedure might be recommended following a thorough evaluation by a neurologist and a cardiologist.
The catheter-based PFO closure procedure is performed by a cardiologist with specialized training where a tube (catheter) is inserted into a vein near the groin. The catheter carries a closure device to the heart that can be placed across the PFO to seal it closed. Tissue will gradually grow over the device to further seal the PFO. Typically patients can go home the same or next day following the procedure.
Click here to watch a PFO patient story.
If your doctor has identified a PFO and thinks you are at risk for forming blood clots or for having a stroke, you may be a candidate for a catheter-based PFO closure procedure. To learn more about this procedure or the Structural Heart program at St. Luke’s Regional Heart and Vascular Center, call St. Luke’s Cardiology Associates at 218.249.3057.
For additional information, visit www.cryptogenicstroke.com for resources provided by Abbott.