Open-Heart Surgery Made Easy
Now, a relatively new procedure provides all the benefits of open-heart surgery, without opening your heart.
It's called a trans-catheter closure.
"Comparing an open-heart surgery to a trans-catheter closure is like comparing night and day in terms of the anesthesia and the recovery time," explained Dr. Richard Webel of University Hospital.
Patients are up and around within a day. Doctors use a vein in the leg as the road to quick recovery. They thread a catheter up the vein and into the hole in the heart. A metal patch, which looks like a tiny umbrella, is opened up to plug the hole.
"They actually work by putting a device in that requires the body to form some scar tissue," said Webel. "It can take up to several months for the scar tissue to form to fully close the defect."
The one-hour procedure effectively avoids a major heart surgery.
Trans-catheter closure isn't considered surgery and there aren't any unlikely candidates, unless there's a blood clot at the time of the echocardiogram.