An ASD is a hole in the wall (septum) that separates the two upper (atrial) chambers of the heart. A PFO is a condition in which a small opening in the atrial septum fails to seal after birth. Some patients with a PFO can develop stroke when small blood clots cross from the right-sided collecting chamber to the left-sided collecting chamber (atrium), ultimately flowing into the brain.
In the past, people with holes in their hearts could face a lifetime of anticoagulant therapy or even open-heart surgery in order to reduce their high risk of stroke. Some BayCare facilities now offer a minimally invasive option to close a variety of cardiac holes, including atrial and ventricular septal defects and patent foramen ovales. During these procedures, a hollow catheter is threaded through a blood vessel and guided to the site of the defect. Once in place, it’s used to deliver a collapsed mesh closure device and place it inside the defect. The device is then activated, expanding to block the opening and hold the device in place, and the catheter is removed. Recovery time following placement is considerably shorter compared with traditional surgery