Dr Simon Kennon MB ChB, FRCP, MD Consultant Cardiologist

PFO/ASD

Atrial septal defect (ASD), sometimes referred to as a hole in the heart, is a congenital heart abnormality where there is a hole in the wall dividing two of the heart chambers This allows blood flow between these chambers. A Patent Foramen ovale (PFO) is a specific type of atrial septal defect.

Diagnosis

if an ASD is suspected, an echocardiogram (echo) is required to look at the wall dividing the two heart chambers (the interatrial septum). Sometimes a transoeasophageal echocardiogram is required.

Treatment

If it is thought there is a high risk of the ASD or PFO causing heart failure then closure is required. This can be achieved with open heart surgery or, more commonly, with a keyhole procedure whereby an occlusion device is passed up to the heart from one of the veins at the top of the leg.