What treatments are available for patients with a patent foramen ovale?

If you have a PFO but do not have symptoms or any related problems, you do not need treatment. If treatment is needed, you may need to take medication or have the PFO closed.

Medication

If you have a PFO and have had a stroke or TIA, you may need to take medication to thin your blood to prevent blood clots and stroke. These can include aspirin, Plavix (clopidogrel), or Coumadin (warfarin). Your doctor will talk to you about the best medication for you.

Closure of PFO

Closing the PFO is not proven to be better a better treatment than medication for patients who have one stroke or TIA with an unknown cause (cryptogenic).

Usually, closure is considered if you have had more than one cryptogenic stroke or TIA after you start taking blood-thinning medication.

If your doctor determines that PFO closure is the best treatment option for you, he or she will talk to you about surgery or a device to close the PFO.

Follow-up care

It is important to keep your follow-up visits with your doctor to monitor your condition. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to be seen.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2019.

References

  • Darst JR, Collins KK, Miyamoto SDCardiovascular Diseases. In: Hay WW, Jr., Levin MJ, Deterding RR, Abzug MJ. eds. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics, 22e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2013.
  • American Heart Association. About Congenital Heart Defects Accessed 3/12/2015.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts about Congenital Heart Defects Accessed 3/12/2015.
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What are Congenital Heart Defects? Accessed 3/12/2015.
  • Hirsh JC, Devaney EJ, Ohye RG, Bove EL. Chapter 19B. The Heart: II. Congenital Heart Disease. In: Doherty GM. eds. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Surgery, 13e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2010.

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