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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Patent Foramen Ovale

A patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure is done to seal off or close an opening between the right and left atrium of the heart.

Before birth, each fetus has a small opening between the upper left and right chambers (atria) of the heart. This opening is called a foramen ovale. In most cases this closes naturally soon after birth. If it remains open (patent), blood may leak between the two atria.

In the past, the foramen ovale could only be closed during open heart surgery. A PFO closure done in the Cardiac Catheterization (Cath) lab offers a less invasive option.

During this procedure, a thin catheter (tube) is threaded to the heart from the blood vessels in the groin area. The catheter, guided by X-ray, allows a special device to be put in place to close the PFO. The procedure lasts about one to two hours. An overnight hospital stay may be needed.


For more information regarding patent foramen ovale, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 1-866-662-8467 or request a first time appointment online.

Last UpdateJune 28, 2011