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Patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a condition in which a normal opening in the heart does not close the way it should after birth. PFO closure is necessary when a PFO is causing symptoms. It is also a preventive treatment for stroke related to PFO.
PFO closure typically is a cardiac catheterization procedure. An interventional cardiologist inserts a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) into a large artery in the groin. The catheter is gently moved up to the PFO, where tiny instruments are used to close the opening. The catheter is then removed and the incision is sealed.
Prior to the procedure, the patient will receive sedation. Numbing medicine will be applied to the groin before any incision is made. After the procedure, the patient will rest in a recovery area for several hours to help ensure the incision remains sealed.
While PFO may not be causing immediate health issues, it’s important to have it treated before it becomes an urgent problem. To learn more about patent foramen ovale closure in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, find a cardiologist or cardiac surgeon at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican's San Martin or Siena Campus or call (702) 616-4900. You can also take our heart health assessment.
When growing in the mother’s womb, every baby has a hole in the muscle wall that separates the two upper chambers of the heart. This allows the baby’s blood to bypass the lungs, since the lungs are not used for oxygenation before birth. When the baby is born, the hole normally closes.
However, in about one out of four people, this hole doesn’t completely close after birth and a small amount of blood leaks from the right to the left atrium. PFO doesn’t cause symptoms or health problems in most people. In rare cases, it can cause a bluish skin tone in babies if the leak leads to lower blood oxygen levels. Imaging tests can identify the hole.
In adults, the rate of PFO is greater in people who have had a stroke with no known cause, particularly in people younger than 55. This is because PFO increases the chance that a blood clot from a vein can travel to the left atrium and eventually to the brain, causing a stroke.
PFO closure can be completed on people of any age, including infants. PFO closure is considered a safe procedure, but it’s still important to discuss the risk of complications and ways to reduce them with a treatment team.
Because PFO closure is a minimally invasive procedure, the recovery should be fairly quick with with minimal discomfort. If you or your child are having this procedure, you will receive detailed instructions about activity restrictions, incision care, medications, and follow-up appointments before you go home.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican's San Martin and Siena Campuses provide comprehensive patent foramen ovale closure in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV as a part of our cardiac services.