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Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

What is PFO?

A foramen ovale is hole in the heart that is a normal part of fetal development. The hole usually closes and seals within a few months of birth. For about 25-33 percent of people, the hole doesn’t close completely, allowing a small amount of blood to pass from the right to left side of the heart. This is called a PFO. Most of the time PFOs do not cause any symptoms and do not require any treatment if found by accident.

When would you need a PFO closure?

While PFOs are common, in rare cases, they allow a blood clot to pass from the right to the left side of the heart. The clot can travel to the brain causing a stroke. Most strokes are caused by other conditions such as atrial fibrillation, abnormalities in blood vessels, clots on artificial valves or clotting disorders. A stroke that cannot be attributed to these or other causes is called a cryptogenic stroke. If the PFO is believed to have been a factor in cryptogenic stroke, a cardiologist might perform a PFO closure to prevent future strokes. Other treatment options include blood thinning medications or, in rare cases, surgery.

Why choose our program for PFO closures?

  • The CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center has been providing PFO closure services since 2007. Our experienced cardiologists take special interest in improving the lives of their patients.
  • Our team works cooperatively with the patient, their family and other specialists to develop a safe, effective treatment plan that provides the best outcome.

If you have questions about our program, we would be happy to assist you. Please call us at 320-293-0750 or email us.