What is Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Treatment?
PFO Treatment closes the Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) through blood thinning medicines or a catheter-based procedure to close the hole.
The PFO is a hole with a flap-like covering that separates the two top chambers in the heart. This opening in utero allows for oxygen to go from the mother’s blood into the baby’s circulation bypassing the lungs. After birth the flap-like covering usually closes the hole permanently. However the hole remains open in 10% of people and may permit blood to pass through the heart, bypassing the lungs.
Why PFO Treatment?
In most people a PFO creates no symptoms and requires no treatment. However, in a small number of patients, a PFO may permit blood clots to cross from the right side of the heart to the left side, resulting in a stroke. Your doctor and neurologist will decide if your PFO played an important role in your stroke. PFO closure has also been looked at as a treatment for refractory migraine headaches.
Our medical team—including a neurologist—will conduct tests to look for the cause of your stroke. Typically a transesophageal echo (TEE) is done to evaluate for a PFO. If a PFO is thought to have contributed to your stroke, blood thinning medicines are started to reduce the chance that clots form in the blood. We perform a catheter-based closure of the PFO with a permanent implant.
The procedure takes place in the hospital in a cardiac catheterization lab. Patients are under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. The closure device is introduced into the vein in the right groin and ultimately into the heart, occluding the PFO. A typical hospitalization is overnight, and patients resume normal activity within a week. Patients are on gentle blood thinners for a short duration after the procedure (usually 3-9 months).
Dr. Kolski directs the structural heart program at St. Joseph Hospital—the busiest catheter-based heart valve program in Orange County. The outcomes at St. Joseph Hospital are in the top 10% nationally for length of stay and complications.
Who we treat
We treat patients with cryptogenic stroke or any patient where a PFO is felt to contribute to significant symptoms or disability.
Are you or someone you love a candidate for PFO treatment?
Additional Cardiology Services
Dr. Kolski is a highly skilled, nationally recognized cardiologist providing patients in Orange Country with world class heart care services
Dr. Kolski performs over 200 structural heart interventions a year and travels throughout the U.S., educating physicians on vascular techniques and Complex Higher-Risk (and Indicated) Patients. He directs the structural heart program at St. Joseph Hospital—the busiest catheter-based heart valve program in Orange County.
Procedures Since 2014
Complex Coronary Interventions
Limb Salvage Procedures