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American Family Children's Hospital

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Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Closure

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(608) 263-1530


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Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)


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Amplatzer PFO OccluderThe closure procedure for a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is relatively painless and does not require any surgical incisions.
Patients are given a general or local anesthetic, and the procedure is performed under ultra sound guidance while the patient is awake.
Your doctor may place an imaging probe in your mouth and move it down to your esophagus in order to see your heart up close with an echocardiography machine.
The device used in the procedure, the Amplatzer® PFO Occluder, is a wire mesh made out of nickel and a titanium alloy. The device is filled with securely sewn polyester fabric to help close the defect. Memory properties in the alloy, called Nitinol, allow it to be deformed and placed within a small catheter for insertion into the body through a large vein.
Once the catheter is placed across the hole in the heart, the closure device is delivered through the catheter into the atrial chambers, where it springs back open to its memorized shape and seals the hole.
In many cases the procedure takes only about 30 minutes to two hours, and patients are often able to go leave the hospital the same day or after an overnight stay, returning home with minimal restrictions on normal physical activity.
Before you leave the hospital, a chest X-ray and/or echocardiogram will be performed to make sure the device is still positioned properly.
The Amplatzer® PFO Occluder is only available for investigational use in the PFO ACCESS clinical trial at  the University of Wisconsin. For information on the PFO ACCESS clinical trial, contact research study coordinator Ashley Harris at
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