Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center

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Intermountain Heart InstituteHeart Health A-ZAtrial Septal Defect (ASD) and Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

Image of SeptumOverview of Atrial Septal Defect and Patent Foramen Ovale

Atrial septal defect (ASD) and patent foramen ovale (PFO) are two types of holes or defects that can occur between the upper two chambers of the heart.

Atrial septal defect (ASD) – This birth defect is fairly common. With Atrial septal defect (ASD)ASD, there is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria). The hole allows oxygen-rich and oxygen depleted blood to mix, and overfills the (lower-pressure) right atrium with blood. As a result, too much blood flows into the right ventricle and lungs. Your heart has to work harder, and your lungs can be damaged.

Patent foramen ovale (PFO)Patent foramen ovale (PFO) Fetuses have a normal opening (called a foramen ovale) between the left and right atria of the heart. But if this opening fails to close naturally soon after birth, the result is an open patent foramen ovale, or PFO. Most of the time, this defect doesn't cause significant health problems, and doesn't require treatment. When a PFO is serious enough to cause problems, healthcare providers may recommend a procedure to close the hole.

 

ASD and PFO in Depth

Learn more about ASD and PFO from Intermountain's Patient Education Library:

Treatments for ASD and PFO

Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. Possible treatments for ASD and PFO include:

  • Atrial Septal Defect and Patent Foramen Ovale Closure

    Some patients with a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart (ASD, PFO) have clinical symptoms that warrant closure of the hole. This can be accomplished either by open heart surgery or by a cardiac cath lab procedure.

Services and Programs

Services and Programs at Intermountain Heart Institute for patients with ASD & PFO:

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