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How to Prevent Cryptogenic Stroke with the PFO Occluder (video)

PFO is a common heart condition that puts some at risk of stroke

PFO is a common heart condition that puts some at risk of stroke

Matthew Price, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Scripps Clinic, discusses patent foramen ovale or PFO, a common heart condition that for some people raises puts them at risk of cryptogenic or unexplained stroke.


Dr. Price explains how a device known as a PFO Occluder works to reduce the risk of cryptogenic stroke.

Video transcript

What is a PFO?

A PFO is a persistent connection or hole between the left and right sides of the heart that can get you in trouble when you age and be the source of a cryptogenic stroke.

What is a cryptogenic stroke?

A cryptogenic stroke is a stroke from an unknown cause that we believe is due to a PFO in many cases.

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

The warning signs of a stroke are neurological things, such as numbness or tingling of the arms or legs, inability to move one or more sides of your body, and inability to speak or be clear when one speaks.

What is a PFO Occluder?

A PFO Occluder is a device we can use to plug the persistent hole between the left and right sides of the heart. There are two types. There is the AMPLATZER PFO Occluder, which is made out of a special nitinol mesh or metal mesh with two discs, and there's the GORE CARDIOFORM Occluder, which is also made of two discs, out of medical grade Gore-Tex.

How does the PFO Occluder Work?

The PFO Occluders work by sealing up that connection or that hole between the right and left sides of the heart so that blood clots from the legs can no longer cross over through that hole and cause a stroke.

Learn more about PFO

Learn more about PFO and treatments by watching this video featuring Dr. Price: What happens if you have a hole in your heart?

Watch more Ask the Expert videos now for quick answers to common medical questions.