Patent foraman ovale closure

Hole in the heart repair

If you have a hole in the heart known as patent foramen ovale, our HCA UK cardiologists can treat you with closure surgery

What is patent foramen ovale?

A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a hole in the heart developed in the womb that doesn't heal properly after birth.

The hole exists in the upper two chambers of the heart, collecting blood returning from the body.

We provide the closure procedure to help prevent related injuries such as strokes and breathing difficulties.

Need to know

  • What happens during a PFO closure? icon plus

    PFO closure can be carried out under local anaesthetic. The procedure lasts around one hour. Your surgeon will pass an ultrasound probe down your throat to assess the hole in your heart more clearly (transoesophageal echocardiogram). They'll then insert a catheter into a vein in your groin and pass it up to your heart. The catheter has a small balloon inside to measure the size of the hole. A device with two umbrellas will then be passed through the catheter. The umbrellas sit on either side of the hole in your heart. As the umbrellas open, they will help to close the hole. Your consultant will finish by removing the catheter.
  • How to prepare for your procedure icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the patent foramen ovale closure to you, and answer any questions you might have. Prior to the procedure you will undergo tests to assess the hole in your heart.

    This will likely include an echocardiogram, which gives your consultant clear information on the size, structure and function of your heart. You will also be advised on food and drink intake, and you should wear loose fitted clothing on the day of surgery.

  • After your procedure icon plus

    Immediately after the PFO closure, you will be attached to a cardiac monitor for a few hours. This is to measure your heart rate and rhythm. An electrical sensor will also be attached to your finger, measuring your oxygen levels. You will likely stay overnight in hospital.

    Whilst here you will have two more heart scans, one is called an echo and the other is an ECG. If the scans show that you are okay, you should be able to go home. Your consultant will let you know when you can get back to your usual routine, including work and exercise.

Our cardiac specialists

We're proud to work with leading cardiologists, electrophysiologists and cardiac surgeons, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our locations in London

From complex cardiac surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional cardiac care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Private hole-in-the heart surgery in Birmingham

Request a cardiac appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced cardiologists. You can contact us by telephone or email.


020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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