Patent Foramen Ovale and Atrial Septal Defect Closure

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) and atrial septal defect (ASD) are holes in the wall that separates the two upper chambers of your heart. These conditions are present at birth. However, some people don’t know they have it until they reach adulthood. PFO and ASD allow oxygen-rich blood to leak into the oxygen-poor chambers of the heart. Over time, pressure in the lungs can build up, leading to lower oxygen levels in the blood that goes to the body. 

PFO/ASD closure is a routine procedure to close holes in the upper chambers of the heart. Here’s how it works: 

  • Before the procedure, you will undergo a cardiovascular imaging test, such as an echocardiogram, to pinpoint the shape and size of the hole and make sure no other defects are present. 
  • We give you medication to help you relax. 
  • An interventional cardiologist makes an incision in your artery and inserts a thin, spaghetti-like tube (catheter) with a closure device attached to the tip.  
  • The closure device consists of a short tube with discs on either end. The discs are covered in special mesh material. 
  • The device is compressed to fit on the delivery end of the catheter and advanced through your blood vessels to the hole. 
  • We check the positioning of the devices using advanced imaging technology. 
  • Once we are sure of the positioning, the short tube plugs the hole and the discs expand to straddle each side of the hole. One is in the left atria, and the other is in the right atria. 
  • We remove the catheter, and the procedure is complete. 
  • You will need to stay in the hospital and rest for at least six hours afterward. 
  • Within 24 hours, we perform imaging tests to make sure the device is positioned correctly. 
  • The device will stay in your heart permanently. Within a few days, your tissue will begin to grow over it. 

Quick Reference

Heart & Vascular Center
New Patients

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Toll-free 888-716-WAKE

Returning Patients

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Heart 336-716-6674

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Last Updated: 11-17-2015
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