A patent foramen ovale (PFO) and atrial septal defect (ASD) are two types of congenital heart abnormalities. A congenital heart abnormality is present at birth. An ASD or PFO happens when the wall separating the atria does not form correctly leaving a small hole between the right and left atria (upper heart chambers). Blood can move through the ASD or PFO from one atria to the other.
In some people, the blood flow through the ASD or PFO causes changes in the heart function and creates symptoms. Many people with ASDs or PFOs have no problems.
When needed an interventional cardiologist may recommend closing or “patching” the hole in your heart by using a closure device that looks like two small fabric umbrellas. The device is attached to a special catheter which is inserted into a vein in your leg and then advanced into your heart. Your doctor locates the hole in your heart with the help of an ultrasound camera after which the closure device is placed to seal the hole.
Over time, the tissue around the hole grows into the fabric of the device and it becomes a permanent part of your heart.