About PFO Closure
- How do I know which treatment option is right for me?
Doctors likely found your PFO when trying to find the cause of your stroke. Often, the cause of stroke is never known. These strokes are called cryptogenic (Crypto means hidden. Gen means cause.) Doctors are aware that a PFO can lead to a stroke. To reduce the risk of another stroke, your doctors may recommend closing your PFO with the Amplatzer™ PFO Occluder. More than 130,000 patients have received the Amplatzer PFO Occluder.1 The device has been proven safe and effective in many large studies.2,3
- Abbott data on file.
- Mas J-L, Derumeaux G, Guillon B, et al. Patent foramen ovale closure or anticoagulation vs. antiplatelets after stroke. N Engl J Med. 2017; 377: 1011-21.
- Saver JL, Carroll JD, Thaler DE, et al. Long-term outcomes of patent foramen ovale closure or medical therapy after stroke. N Engl J Med. 2017; 377: 1022-32.
- What do I need to do before the PFO closure procedure?
Be sure to talk with your doctor about any medication you may be taking, as they may advise you to adjust your medication before the procedure. Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight prior to the procedure. You should arrange for a ride to and from the hospital and ask someone to help you at home (if necessary).
- What happens during the PFO closure procedure?
This minimally invasive procedure will take place in a heart catheterization laboratory. Before beginning the procedure, you will receive a sedating medication to help you relax and a local anesthetic so that you don’t feel any significant discomfort. The catheter-based procedure involves making a tiny cut, typically in the right groin area, and inserting a small tube to guide the Amplatzer PFO Occluder through the blood vessels to close the PFO within your heart.
Once the Amplatzer PFO Occluder is placed across the PFO, the cardiologist will carefully study its position using cardiac imaging tools. When the cardiologist is satisfied with the position of the device, it will be released to remain permanently in the heart, and all catheters will be removed.
- What happens after the PFO closure procedure?
You should expect to be home within 24 hours. Your doctor will talk to you about your care before you go home. Your doctor may recommend a routine like the one described here.
For one month after your procedure:
- Aspirin (81 to 325 mg) every day
- Clopidogrel (75 mg) every day
For at least six months after your procedure:
- Aspirin (81 to 325 mg) every day
- Additional medicine prescribed by your doctor
Six months after your procedure:
- An echocardiogram
- Visit your doctor for regular check ups.
- Contact your doctor if you have any bleeding, pain, discomfort or changes in your overall health.
- Carry your Amplatzer™ PFO Occluder implant card with you at all times.
- For your safety and to avoid damage to your occluder:
- Tell all medical professionals that you have had PFO closure.
- Talk about your implant BEFORE you have any imaging procedures: medical, dental, or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
- After the procedure, when can I resume normal activities?
You should avoid strenuous physical activity for at least two weeks after your procedure. Your doctor will provide you with more information.
- Can a PFO occluder cause problems in certain places or situations?
Your PFO occluder will not be affected by household appliances or security systems. Tell all your doctors, including your dentist, that you have a PFO occluder. If you need medical imaging, tell the technician that you have a PFO occluder. The device may reduce the clarity of your medical images.
- Should I be concerned about having a metal device in my heart?
The Amplatzer™ PFO Occluder contains a nickel-titanium alloy. This is considered safe for most people. It may not be the right choice for people who are allergic to nickel or who have allergies to metal. Talk to your doctor to determine the right treatment option for you.