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PFO (Peyton Foramen Ovale) Closure

As a baby grows in the womb, there is a normal opening between the left and right atria, which are the upper chambers of the heart. If this opening fails to close naturally soon after the baby is born, the hole is called Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO).

A PFO allows blood to bypass the lungs. A baby's lungs are not used while it grows in the womb, so the hole does not cause problems in an unborn infant. The opening is supposed to close soon after birth, but sometimes it does not. In about one of four people, the opening never closes. The cause of a PFO is unknown. There are no known risk factors.


Infants with a PFO and no other heart defects do not have symptoms.


This condition is not treated unless other heart abnormalities exist or if a person has had a stroke caused by a blood clot to the brain. Treatment usually requires cardiac cathertization by a specifically trained cardiologist to permanently seal the PFO.

Unless there are other associated defects, there are usually no complications associated with a PFO.

Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you.