Many people live with a hole in the heart and it doesn't cause a problem. But in some people, tiny blood clots may form around that hole, called a Patent Foramen Ovale, or PFO.
If a clot then works its way through the hole into the left side of the heart, that can be a problem because it can move to the brain and cause a TIA or stroke. Treatment options have always included open heart surgery or drug therapy.
Now, there is a minimally invasive procedure that can close the hole without surgery or drugs. Doctors thread a thin cather from the groin up to the heart, passing through the PFO in the heart wall. That's where they deploy a kind of double umbrella, a cardio-seal, that closes the hole.
"The cardioseal device, over the period of three months, will get covered over by the body's own endothelial cells and just incorporated into the atrial septum," says Dr. James Wilentz, cardiologist.
"It was very quick. I was out of the hospital the next morning. I was walking around, I took my child to school the next day, everything was fine, I feel great, it's only been a month. I have no side effects. I couldn't feel better," says Jessica Gannon, stroke patient.
Dr. Wilentz says some people live with PFO's and there's no reason to have it closed. But if you're concerned or if you're not happy with drug therapy for the condition, you may want to ask your doctor about a cardio seal.