Oklahoma Heart Institute is home to the first program in Tulsa to offer comprehensive adult cardiac interventional services including non-surgical closure of patent foramen ovale (PFO) and atrial septal defect (ASD) to repair these potentially life-threatening heart defects.
PFO and ASD are among the most common types of congenital heart defects. Affecting an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the population, PFO is the result of an incomplete closure of tissue between the two upper chambers of the heart, which normally occurs at birth.
Most people with PFO have no side effects. However in some people – especially those with other heart problems – blood clots can travel through a small, flap-like opening and into the brain, causing a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack or “mini-stroke”) or heart attack.
Similar to PFO, ASD is a defect in which a hole in the wall between the two top chambers of the heart causes oxygenated blood to leak from the heart’s left side back to the right side. The blood is then pumped back into the lungs, displacing blood that needs oxygen and causing the body to work harder to maintain circulation. While those with small atrial defects may never experience symptoms or complications, those with larger defects are at greater risk for heart failure, arrhythmias or stroke.
In the past, open heart surgery or a lifetime of dependence on blood thinning medication were the only known treatments for PFO and ASD. Today, Wayne Leimbach, MD, a cardiologist with Oklahoma Heart Institute, is able to offer a revolutionary, non-surgical procedure to correct these defects in adults.
Performed in the cardiac catheterization lab, the procedure usually requires a one-night hospital stay. Patients typically experience few complications and can resume normal daily activities within a week. Dr. Leimbach has successfully performed this non-surgical procedure for many years. In fact, no one in the state has higher success rates.