Percutaneous closure of a patent foramen ovale is a minimally invasive procedure to prevent recurrent stroke.

What is a patent foramen ovale?

Patent foramen ovalve (PFO) is a natural opening in the atrial septum present in about 25 per cent of the population. Percutaneous closure of PFO is a minimally invasive procedure aiming to prevent recurrent stroke.

How does patent foramen ovale closure work?

Your doctor gains access to this vein through your groin and the catheter is threaded through the vessel into your heart. Your doctor will pass a wire across the PFO between the two atria under x-ray guidance.

A closure device will be deployed and released across the PFO which will be closed instantaneously. Typically, you will not feel anything in your heart during the procedure. With time, your heart tissue grows around the device used and permanently seals the hole.

The procedure involves a small risk of stroke, heart attack, infection, device embolization, or irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation). Your doctor will go over the risks and anticipated benefits of the procedure with you.

What can I expect during my patent foramen ovale closure procedure?

In Fraser Health, Royal Columbian Hospital provides this service. You will be referred by your cardiologist to a specialist in interventional cardiology to be evaluated for the procedure.

The interventional cardiologist will provide you with specific preparation instructions for this procedure. The procedure is approximately 30 minutes long. The procedure is done with local anesthetic.

A patient is usually discharged from hospital and sent home on the same day. You will be provided with discharge instructions before you go home.