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ASD/PFO Specialist

South Palm Cardiovascular Associates

Cardiology, Vascular & Vein center serving Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington & Lake Worth, FL

Having a hole in your heart sounds scary, but the board-certified cardiology team at South Palm Cardiovascular Associates in Delray Beach, Florida, specializes in using minimally invasive cardiac catheterization procedures to repair these holes. The most common types of hole-in-heart problems are conditions like atrial septal defect (ASD) and patent foramen ovale (PFO). If you have symptoms of ASD/PFO or concerns about your heart, call South Palm Cardiovascular Associates today to schedule a consultation or book your appointment online.


What are ASD and PFO?

Atrial septal defect (ASD) and patent foramen ovale (PFO) are both hole-in-heart conditions.

Your heart has two upper chambers (atria) kept separate by a wall of tissue called the septum. Having ASD means there's a hole in the septum that's allowing oxygen-rich blood from one chamber to leak into the oxygen-poor chamber.

ASD is a congenital heart defect that develops when the septal tissue doesn't form between your atria. 

PFO is a similar problem, but it takes place after birth. It involves the foramen ovale — a small flap-like opening between the right and left chambers of your heart.

The foramen ovale usually closes when you're a baby, but PFO means the hole hasn't fully closed. Babies who have holes in their hearts might need surgery if the hole is causing problems. However, many people reach adulthood without knowing they have a hole.

How do ASD and PFO affect the heart?

A small hole might not affect your heart function very much. PFOs, in particular, are often small, and many people have them without it ever being a problem. However, larger holes can cause circulatory problems.

A large ASD can allow blood to leak from the left to the right side of your heart. The blood goes to your lungs, creating extra work for the right side of your heart and gradually damaging the arteries in your lungs.

If you have a large hole in your heart, it might leave you a little short of breath. You might be more prone to developing lung conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis. A physical examination using a stethoscope might reveal a heart murmur or abnormal sounds.

Over time, these symptoms can worsen. Without treatment from the expert cardiologists at South Palm Cardiovascular Associates, you could experience significant deterioration in your condition.

How are ASDs and PFOs treated?

The South Palm Cardiovascular Associates team specializes in treating conditions like ASD and PFO using minimally invasive techniques. They use a venous catheter (a slender tube that goes into a vein) and thread a wire mesh patch called an occluder through the catheter and into your heart.

The occluder springs into place onto the hole, effectively sealing it. With the circulation problems fixed, you should regain your health and strength. The procedure could take up to two hours, and you can usually go home the same day.

You'll need to attend further testing procedures like an echocardiogram or chest X-ray to make sure the occluder is still in position. You also go for checkups periodically after your procedure to monitor your condition.

Call South Palm Cardiovascular Associates today to find out more or book an appointment online.