Tag Archives: PFO

Finding Closure: New Heart Device Reduces Stroke Risk

Lexington Medical Center is the first hospital in South Carolina to use a brand new device proven to reduce the risk of stroke in a substantial number of patients.

The Amplatzer PFO Occluder device by St. Jude Medical is for patients who have a small hole in the heart called a patent foramen ovale (PFO). About 25 to 30 percent of Americans have a PFO.

Typically, it causes no health problems and does not require treatment. But in some cases, clots can form in the veins, use the PFO to get into the arteries, and cause a stroke.

Patients who have suffered a stroke because of a PFO have an increased risk of experiencing a second stroke. Physicians now use the PFO occluder to close the hole in the heart and reduce the risk of another stroke.

While doctors have been closing PFOs for years, it’s the first time there has been a device with specific emphasis on stroke patients.

Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC, FSCAI

“It’s the first FDA-approved device for stroke reduction,” said Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC, FSCAI of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. “In fact, the stroke reduction rate is estimated to be 50 percent.”

Doctors insert the PFO occluder through a catheter in the femoral vein in the leg. They thread the device through the PFO in the top chambers of the heart, known as the left and right atria.

While doctors can pinpoint the cause of most strokes from risk factors including high blood pressure, narrowed blood vessels, or a blood clot caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, some patients have strokes with a less obvious cause. That’s when doctors investigate the possibility of a PFO, usually discovered through an ultrasound of the heart.


“Holes in the Heart”

Join Lexington Medical Center cardiologist Robert A. Leonardi, MD, FACC in Sumter on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 for a free presentation called “Holes in the Heart.” The event is part of Lexington Medical Center’s quarterly patient education series in Sumter, featuring medical topics that are important to our community.

Dr. Robert Leonardi

Dr. Robert Leonardi

“Holes in the Heart” will take place on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. inside Sumter Cardiology at 540 Physicians Lane in Sumter.

Lexington Medical Center’s full range of cardiac services includes non-surgical closure for “holes in the heart” known as atrial septal defects (ASDs) and patent foramen ovale (PFO).

Courtesy: American Heart Association Heart.org

Courtesy: American Heart Association

ASD and PFO are congenital heart defects, meaning that people are born with them. Many patients are unaware of these “holes in the heart,” which can cause heart failure and have been associated with increased risk of stroke. Dr. Leonardi will discuss the problems these holes can cause, how they are diagnosed, and available treatments.

Affiliated with Duke Medicine, Lexington Medical Center offers comprehensive cardiovascular care with state-of-the-art technology. That includes open heart surgery, catheterizations, angioplasty, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to replace the aortic valve with a catheter instead of open heart surgery, and an electrophysiology program that diagnoses and treats abnormal heart rhythms known as cardiac arrhythmias.

Lexington Medical Center has full chest pain accreditation with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), demonstrating its ability to quickly assess, diagnose and treat heart attack patients. And, the hospital is a Primary Stroke Center, excelling at treating stroke patients promptly.

Dr. Leonardi is a physician with Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

At the patient education presentation, light refreshments will be served. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. For more information, visit LexMed.com