Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Closure and Treatments

Patent Foramen Ovale
Most people with patent foramen ovale (PFO), a common opening in the dividing wall of the heart, do not require treatment. Many people don’t even experience symptoms; often, they are diagnosed with PFO out of the blue during a screening for other possible conditions.

In some cases, however, it is necessary to close the opening in the heart wall.

What is PFO?

During fetal development, a small opening called the foramen ovale exists between the upper left and right chambers of the heart. PFO is the result of this opening not closing shortly after birth.

Some people with PFO may experience:

  • hypoxemia (low blood oxygen)
  • migraines
  • stroke

Am I a candidate for a PFO closure procedure?

A LifeBridge Health interventional cardiologist will review your medical history and the results of tests that are ordered for you to determine if PFO closure is right for you.

You may have to undergo several tests to help determine if you are a candidate for the procedure, including:

  • cardiac catheterization
  • computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • echocardiogram
  • electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • 30-day heart monitor
  • transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)


When treatment for PFO is necessary, our heart and vascular teams at LifeBridge Health work with experts in other specialties to develop and implement an individualized treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Treatment for PFO and atrial septal defects (ASD)—medication, closure devices or surgery—will depend on your symptoms and risk factors.

Heart surgery is an option for many heart conditions, either as a lifesaving procedure or the next step when other treatments haven’t worked. Whenever possible, healthcare providers perform minimally invasive heart surgery to reduce surgical risks and shorten recovery time.

What to expect after pfo procedure

This procedure is performed in our cardiac cath lab and takes about 90 minutes. Most patients can go home the same day, but some require an overnight stay. If you go home the same day, you should expect to have an echocardiogram the next day and then follow up with the implanting cardiologist(s) a few weeks later.

Meet our physicians

Pfeffer, Brad J. M.D.

Brad Pfeffer, M.D.

5051 Greenspring Avenue
Suite 304
Baltimore, MD 21209


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