• What is a patent foarmen ovale (PFO)?

    A patent foramen ovale or PFO is a flap that divides the upper two chambers (atria) in the heart. This has a function when in the womb but after birth this usually closes naturally. In 1 in 4 people this remains 'patent' or open. This generally is of no consequence but in some individuals it may be a risk factor for stroke or embolic event.

    A PFO is diagnosed with the aid of a bubble echocardiogram and a TOE.

  • Why may I benefit from a PFO closure?

    Prof Ruparelia may suggest PFO closure if you have suffered a stroke or other event related to a paradoxical embolus. In the absence of any modifiable risk factor, PFO closure has been demonstrated to significantly reduce the risk of recurrent ischaemic event when compared to optimal medical therapy alone.

    Rarely Prof Ruparelia may suggest closure to reduce the risk of complications related to diving or following other embolic event.

  • What are the risks?

    PFO closure is generally very safe. There is a less than 1% risk of complication related to the procedure and includes damage to the vein at the top of the leg, stroke, device embolisation, damage to the heart and failure.

    Prof Ruparelia shall explain each of these in detail.

  • How do I prepare for my procedure?

    The procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic and so please do eat or drink anything for the 6 hours before your planned procedure time.

    Prof Ruparelia shall discuss if any specific medications should be taken prior to your procedure.

  • What happens during the procedure?

    Prof Ruparelia performs the majority of cases under a general anaesthetic with the aid of X-ray and TOE guidance.

    A small tube is positioned in the vein at the top of your leg (femoral vein) and an umbrella shaped device is advanced across the hole to close it.

    The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes - 1 hour and you are usually woken up in the operating room straight after your procedure

  • Recovery and post-procedure care?

    Following your procedure, you will be asked to lie flat for a few hours to aid in the recovery of the top of the leg (the site of tube insertion).

    You should be able to go home the same day (if performed in the morning) or the following morning if performed later in the day.

    After your procedure you will required to take two blood thinning medications (aspirin and clopidogrel) for 1 month followed by aspirin monotherapy for the intermediate period.

    For the first 6 weeks, do not perform any strenuous activity including heavy lifting or bending.

    Prof Ruparelia shall arrange a follow up including an interval bubble echocardiogram to confirm complete closure

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