Percutaneous closure of patent foramen ovale (PFO), atrial septal defect (ASD) and ventricular septal defect or rupture (VSD and VSR)

This treatment technique makes it possible to close a congenital or acquired abnormality in the (gap in the) atrial or ventricular dividing wall (the septum) using a small ‘umbrella’ that is inserted in the artery in your groin. This has to be done if the PFO/ASD causes symptoms such as a stroke or shortness of breath due to heart failure. Although this condition is often congenital, symptoms may not begin to occur until much later in life.

Extensive experience

In recent years the Centre for Cardiovascular Diseases has acquired extensive experience in closure of PFO/ASD/VSD. For complex abnormalities we collaborate with consultants who have special expertise in this area.

Before your treatment

  • The treatment and the possible associated risks will be discussed with you and your family beforehand.
  • A number of preparatory tests which are carried out as an outpatient will be arranged to find out whether the procedure is feasible and determine which size of heart valve to use. A group of specialists called the heart team will decide whether or not you are eligible after carefully discussing the results. The following tests will be arranged:
  • Certain medications have to be stopped temporarily. This will be discussed in detail beforehand with the doctor providing your treatment.
  • You must not eat or drink anything before you are admitted to hospital.

The treatment

  1. You will be given a general anaesthetic.
  2. Via the artery in your groin, a special catheter will be inserted as far as the dividing wall (the septum) between the atria.
  3. The gap in the atrial septum is then closed using a small 'umbrella'.
  4. You will have to spend one night in hospital after the treatment.

After the treatment

  • For three days after the treatment you must not have a bath, lift heavy items or ride a bicycle. You can have a shower. This is to allow the puncture site in your groin to heal properly.
  • For three months after the treatment you must take extra platelet inhibitors.

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