While most congenital defects of the heart require surgery, our doctors perform some procedures in the catheterization lab. These include patent foramen ovales and atrial septal defects.
A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a small opening in the dividing wall between the heart's upper two chambers. To close this hole, our cardiologists use a special PFO closure device, which opens like an umbrella to permanently close the hole in the heart.
Once your doctor inserts the balloon-tipped catheter into an artery and places it at the defect, the catheter is inflated. The inflation produces an indent, which measures the size and shape of the defect. The umbrella device tightly seals the surrounding normal septal tissue to create a permanent closure of the defect.
In a patient with an atrial septal defect (ASD), the atrial septum—the wall between the left and right atria (upper chambers of the heart)—fails to close. To repair it, our cardiologists use two small umbrella-shaped "clamshell" devices placed on the right and left side of the septum. The two devices, once attached, close the hole in the heart.
MedStar Heart Institute
Cardiac Catheterization Lab
110 Irving Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010
For information or appointments, please call DOCtorsLine at 202-877-DOCS (3627).