In the past, many people with holes in their hearts have faced a lifetime of anticoagulant therapy or even open-heart surgery in order to reduce their high risk of stroke. Emory now offers a minimally invasive option to close a variety of cardiac holes, including atrial and ventricular septal defects and patent foramen ovales.
During these procedures, a hollow catheter (thin, flexible tube) is threaded through a blood vessel and guided to the site of the defect. Once in place, it is used to deliver a collapsed mesh closure device and place it inside the defect. The device is then activated, expanding to block the congenital opening and hold the device in place, and the catheter is removed. Recovery time following such a placement is considerably shorter compared with traditional surgery.