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Healthy Balance

PFO Closure: A Total(ish) Repair of the Heart

A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a common birth defect that makes you more likely to have a stroke. A foramen ovale is a hole in the heart, and it’s a normal part of how a fetus develops. Foramen ovales normally close after birth.

Concerned About PFO and Stroke?

Find out more about PFOs and visit our Stroke Center page to learn more about your risks.

In PFO, the foramen ovale does not close. While not a problem by itself, this condition allows blood clots that are normally filtered out to remain in the bloodstream and possibly cause a stroke.

About 50 percent of young people who have had a stroke without a clear cause also have a PFO. At UVA, we can close the hole using a minimally invasive procedure. This reduces the possibility of a second stroke and the need for life-long medications.

Watch Scott Lim, MD, talk about PFO closure and how it improve the lives of young people following their first stroke.

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