Frequently Asked Questions
Is PFO closure FDA approved?

YES!  The Amplatzer PFO occluder was approved Oct 28 2016 by the FDA for PFO closure.  The indications are as follows:

What are the indications for transcatheter PFO closure?

The AMPLATZER™ PFO Occluder is indicated for percutaneous transcatheter closure of a patent foramen ovale (PFO) to reduce the risk of recurrent ischemic stroke in patients predominately between the ages of 18 and 60 years, who have had a cryptogenic stroke due to a presumed paradoxical embolism, as determined by a neurologist and cardiologist following an evaluation to exclude known causes of ischemic stroke.

I have migraines. Should I be screened for a PFO?
Although there was initial enthusiam for PFO closure to prevent recurrent migraines, the randomized trials did not show a benefit.  Patients with cryptogenic stroke and migraines often see a reduction in their migraine frequency following PFO closure for stroke reasons.  We do not offer PFO closure to treat migraines primarily however.

When can patients return to their usual activities following PFO closure?
Patients may return to their usual activities a few days following the procedure.  We recommend that patients avoid heavy lifting or straining for two weeks.  No amount of physical activity risks dislodging the device.

What are the risks of transcatheter PFO closure?
Risks include bleeding, infection, damage to the heart, heart rhythm problems, device embolization (moving to the wrong place) and stroke.  These risks are all very small.  For the indication of stroke, the risks are much less than than the risk of recurrent stroke, and also less than the risk of bleeding complications on blood thinners.
Can patients with a PFO occluder have an MRI?
Yes.  The PFO Occluder is made from non-ferromagnetic metal (nitinol) and is MRI compatible.
I have another type of heart problem. Can Dr. Love help me?

Dr. Love specializes in congenital heart problems.  Congenital heart problems are those are present in the heart from birth, though they may not be diagnosed until adulthood.   A PFO is one of the most straightforward types of these problems.  Dr. Love also cares for children and adults with other types of congenital heart defects such as:

  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
  • Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
  • Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)
  • Other complex cardiac malformations such as single ventricle 

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