Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Testing | Invasive Cardiac Procedures
One indication for a visit to a cardiovascular surgeon may be a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) that causes subsequent problems for a patient. The Foramen Ovale is a small flap-like opening between the right and left heart chambers, which usually closes on its own during infancy. When the hole does not close, or does not close sufficiently, it is called a PFO. Many people have PFOs and are never aware that they have them for their whole lives. Even if the PFO is discovered during tests for some other condition, often patients never develop any symptoms from the PFO, and need no treatment.
However, occasionally the hole can be large enough to cause problems with circulation. In this case, you would want to consult one of South Palm Cardiovascular Associates’ top heart surgeons, all highly skilled and experienced in PFO closure. The procedure is commonly done with patients under a general or local anesthetic, but still awake. The doctor will use a venous catheter to thread a wire mesh occluder, or “patch,” through the catheter into your heart. The patch springs into place through the catheter onto the hole, effectively sealing it.
The entire procedure usually takes two hours or less. Patients can go home the same day, or possibly the next day, after further testing in the form of an echocardiogram or chest x-ray to ensure that the device is still in proper position. Ongoing monitoring visits as part of the best cardiovascular care will be determined on an individual basis with your doctor.
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