Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) in Children

Patent foramen ovale (PFO) is an opening in the upper chambers of the heart due to a flap of tissue that failed to close normally after a baby is born. There is no known cause.

Remarkable Care for Kids

  • Expert, coordinated care for your child: Experts at the Rush Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease Program provide personalized, coordinated treatment for heart problems that are present at birth.
  • Access to clinical trials: Pediatric heart specialists at Rush are leaders in clinical trials of new therapies for PFO and other congenital heart defects. This means patients at Rush often have access to treatments before they are widely available.
  • Care close to home: Pediatric cardiologists from Rush University Children's Hospital see patients at a number of convenient locations. They are available to see patients at our Rush campus in Chicago, Rush Oak Park Hospital, Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, and at satellite locations throughout the city and the suburbs, including Evergreen Park, Joliet, Hoffman Estates, Tinley Park and Crown Point, IN.

Care for patent foramen ovale at Rush

Diagnosis: There are usually no symptoms associated with PFO but an imaging test called an echocardiogram can be used to diagnose a PFO.

Treatment: The condition, however, doesn't require treatment unless other heart problems exist. If treatment is required, a highly trained heart expert at Rush will likely close your child's PFO using a procedure called cardiac catheterization. Catheterization avoids the need for open-heart surgery. Instead, a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is threaded to the heart through a blood vessel in the arm, upper thigh or neck to repair the defect.