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PFO & ASD Closure

PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale) and ASD (Atrial Septal Defect) are congenital heart conditions that affect the structure of the heart. In these conditions, there is an abnormal opening or hole between the atria (upper chambers) of the heart, which can lead to complications like stroke, heart failure, or arrhythmias. PFO & ASD closure is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to close these openings, reducing the risk of associated complications and improving overall heart health.

What is PFO & ASD Closure?

PFO & ASD closure is a specialized interventional cardiology procedure designed to close the abnormal openings between the atria of the heart. During the procedure, a thin, flexible device known as a closure device is inserted into the heart through a catheter, guided from a blood vessel in the groin to the heart. Once in position, the closure device is carefully placed to seal the hole or defect, effectively preventing blood from flowing between the atria. Over time, the body's tissues will grow around the closure device, permanently sealing the opening.

Risks VS Benefits of PFO & ASD Closure

The considerable benefits of PFO and ASD closure procedures typically far outweigh the low risks involved, making them favorable treatment options for eligible patients. While no procedure is risk-free, PFO and ASD closure utilize minimally invasive, catheter-based techniques that avoid open-heart surgery and lower the chance of complications. Given the substantial long-term benefits for health and quality of life, these procedures are safe and effective solutions for those with suitable defects.

By closing abnormal openings between the upper chambers of the heart, these procedures can greatly reduce the chance of paradoxical embolism and stroke, a potentially life-threatening complication. This significant reduction in stroke risk is a major reason patients often pursue closure. Sealing these defects improves overall heart function by eliminating excess blood flow through the lungs and decreasing strain on the heart over time. Patients often report increased energy, reduced fatigue, and an enhanced quality of life.

Benefits of PFO & ASD Closure

  • Reduced Stroke Risk
    PFO & ASD closure significantly reduces the risk of stroke by preventing the passage of blood clots from the right to the left side of the heart, which can travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
  • Improved Heart Function
    Closing the abnormal openings can help improve heart function and prevent the enlargement of the heart's chambers, ultimately leading to better overall heart health.
  • Reduced Risk of Heart Failure
    By closing the defects, the workload on the heart is decreased, reducing the risk of developing heart failure over time.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life
    Patients who undergo PFO & ASD closure often experience improved energy levels, reduced fatigue, and an overall enhanced quality of life.

Risks of PFO and ASD closure

  • Bleeding
    Bleeding is the most common risk of PFO and ASD closure. It can occur at the site of the incision or in the area around the heart. The risk of bleeding is higher if you have other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Infection
    Infection is a serious risk of PFO and ASD closure, but it is rare. The risk of infection is higher if you have a weakened immune system.
  • Heart rhythm problems
    Heart rhythm problems can happen if the device used to close the hole damages the heart tissue. This can cause a heart arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat. The risk of heart rhythm problems is higher if you have a history of heart disease or other medical conditions.
  • Stroke
    Stroke is a very rare risk of PFO and ASD closure. It can occur if the procedure damages the heart or if a blood clot forms around the device. The risk of stroke is higher if you have a history of stroke or other medical conditions.

What to Expect Before, During, and After PFO & ASD Closure

PFO and ASD closure is performed using a closure device inserted through a vein in the groin. The device is then deployed to close the hole, eliminating the risk of blood clots and improving overall heart function.

After the procedure, patients are monitored in a recovery area and may then either spend the night in the hospital or return home that day. Regular follow-up appointments are scheduled to assess the effectiveness of the closure and monitor heart function. With successful closure, patients can expect improved heart function and a reduced risk of complications. Here are a few other things to keep in mind after the procedure:

  • You should avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for a period specified by your doctor.
  • You should report any unusual symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fevers, bleeding, or concerning signs or symptoms, to your healthcare provider immediately.
  • You should use all prescribed medications and complete the course as directed.
  • You should inform your healthcare provider about any changes in your health or medications during follow-up visits.

Am I a Candidate for PFO & ASD Closure?

In general, PFO and ASD closure is considered for people who have a hole in their heart that is large enough to allow blood clots to pass through. People who have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), or who are at high risk for stroke, are also good candidates for the procedure. Your cardiologist will carefully assess various factors to determine if this procedure is suitable for you:

  • Size and Location of the Defect
    The size and location of the PFO or ASD will be evaluated to ensure that it can be effectively treated with closure.
  • Symptoms
    If you experience symptoms such as unexplained strokes, migraines with aura, changes in the size or strength of your heart, or unexplained low oxygen levels, PFO or ASD closure may be recommended to reduce the risk of further complications.
  • Medical History
    Your overall medical history, including any underlying health conditions, will be considered to ensure that the procedure is safe and appropriate for you.
  • Lifestyle
    Your lifestyle and activity level will also be taken into account, as PFO or ASD closure may be beneficial for those engaging in activities that can increase the risk of complications.
  • Risk of Clot Formation
    If you have a history of blood clots or other clotting disorders, closure of the PFO or ASD may be recommended to prevent clot migration.

Take Action to Repair Your PFO or ASD

If you have been diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale (PFO) or atrial septal defect (ASD), don't wait to explore your treatment options. Minimally invasive closure procedures performed by our skilled cardiologists could greatly improve your health and reduce your risk of complications. Request an appointment today.


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