Instead of closing at birth, abnormal holes between the walls of the chambers in the heart may occasionally persist into adulthood (e.g. patent foramen ovale, atrial septal defect).
These abnormal connections may be associated with conditions causing symptoms including disturbance of heart rhythm, heart failure, strokes and possibly even migraine headaches.
These holes can be identified by echocardiograms. Technology has been developed to close such defects without the need for major surgery and these procedures can be performed at the Galway Clinic. Devices are passed to the heart via veins in the leg, placed over the defect in the heart to block it off and patients may go home the next day.
Alternatively, if the heart anatomy is not suitable for this approach, an open-heart procedure can be performed instead, also available here at the Galway Clinic.