PFO Treatment

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 approach

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).

Our team

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?

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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 and the team at Orange County Heart Institute provide full-service evaluation to patients with a strong family history of heart disease and to people who want to know their overall cardiovascular risk.



We use minimally invasive techniques to alleviate symptoms and prevent limb loss. Dr. Kolski is on the national faculty for the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions and is a nationally recognized expert in this field.



Patients receiving new aortic valves see their life expectancy increase and see dramatic improvement in their symptoms. Dr. Kolski performs over 100 TAVR operations per year.



Protected PCI is a minimally invasive alternative to bypass surgery. Dr. Kolski and the team at St. Joseph Hospital perform many high risk coronary interventions every year.



A reduction in mitral regurgitation is dramatic, leading to improved outcomes and symptoms, and fewer hospitalizations. Dr. Kolski and his team have performed over one hundred Mitraclip procedures in the past several years.


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


TAVR Procedures


Mitraclip Procedures


Complex Coronary Interventions


Limb Salvage Procedures

Happy & Healthy Patients

In addition to being one of Orange County's leading cardiologists, Dr. Kolski is committed to building relationships with patients built on trust and respect. He goes above and beyond to ensure that patients are comfortable and well cared for.

quotation iconI have recommended Dr. Kolski to both family and friends—he is an excellent clinician. He is also very caring. He explains diagnoses and tests in an easily understood manner.
quotation iconI feel very fortunate to have found Dr. Kolski. After being referred to a surgeon who adamantly told me I would need a high risk heart surgery, Dr. Kolski reviewed my case and said he could fix my valve and heart arteries through a few small holes in my arm and groin. He was upfront with me about what to expect depending on my choices. I left the hospital on day two with a new heart valve and the main artery to my heart repaired. I feel great.
quotation iconDr. Kolski has always treated me with respect as a well informed patient. He spoke to me in medical terms I could readily understand. Dr. Kolski lays out truthfully all my options including detailed discussions on the risks of any heart procedures. I appreciate his candor. You’re getting one of the best cardiologists in SoCal. He’s kind, compassionate and caring. Dr. Kolski’s cheerful happy manner always makes my visits to him a hope-filled pleasant experience.
quotation iconDr. Kolski offers his patients bedside manners that seems to have been lost by many doctors today. Dr. Kolski’s attention to me as a patient exemplified his concerns over my entire well being. Dr. Kolski also offers new innovative technologies for vascular blockage that was unavailable to me a year ago. I felt there was little hope because I also have an immune deficiency disease and healing is poor for me. When Dr. Kolski informed me of this new technology and of which he was performing and subsequently teaching other cardiologists at a hospital level...I had hope!
quotation iconI am beyond pleased with my experience with Dr. Kolski. It was a world away from previous experiences elsewhere. It was nice to be treated with professionalism and care - from the scheduler to Dr. Kolski. I had been to several other physicians and none of them were able to address my health issue. Dr. Kolski successfully did. In addition, I sincerely appreciate his diligent follow up. I would highly recommend Dr. Kolski to anyone who seeks expertise in cardiovascular care.
quotation iconDr. Kolski was very straight forward and kept things simple - even in the most complicated situations. His advice has helped me through the process, and without him I wouldn’t be able to overcome all of my health issues. I am grateful for all his help.

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