Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Round Rock Performs First PFO Closure with FDA-approved device in Central Texas Area

Procedure seeks to combat risk of stroke

AUSTIN, Texas – (December 21, 2016) Interventional cardiologists Angel Caldera, MD, Rafael Gonzalez, MD, and Vijay Divakaran, MD, as well as the Interventional Cardiology and Neurology Departments at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Round Rock have performed successfully the first percutaneous patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure in the greater Austin area, using a device recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The minimally-invasive procedure is used to treat patients with PFO and atrial (heart) septal defect (ASD) to reduce further stroke risk in patients who previously had an unexplained stroke. It is estimated that twenty-five percent of adults have a PFO, which is often not detected until they have a cryptogenic stroke (a stroke from an unknown cause).

Diagnosed by echocardiogram, a PFO or ASD consists of holes in the atrial septal wall and are typically congenital, but often with symptoms that do not appear until adulthood. A closure device is placed onto a catheter with deployment to the site of the hole and with the assistance of x-ray and transesophageal echocardiogram imaging.

The patient who underwent this procedure remained overnight for observation on December 14 and was discharged on December 15 without complication.

"Not too many years ago, the only option was to perform open heart surgery to repair these openings, and we'd have to put a patch and sew them shut. Today, we can do a trans-catheter repair and have the patient home in 24 hours," said Dr. Caldera.

The PFO closure device works like a little umbrella. When closed, it is small enough to travel through a blood vessel. When it opens, it expands to close the hole. The device remains in the heart permanently to stop the abnormal flow of blood between the two atrial chambers of the heart. Within a few days, tissue will begin to grow over the device. By three to six months, the device is covered completely by heart tissue.

This procedure is one of many services offered at Baylor Scott & White– Round Rock's accredited chest pain center, led by Dr. Caldera, Dr. Gonzalez, and Dr. Divakaran.

"We are very proud of Drs. Caldera, Gonzalez, and Divakaran and the entire team for their continued drive to advance cardiology services in the greater Austin area," said Rob Watson, MD, chief medical officer for Baylor Scott & White's Austin/Round Rock Region.

"Over the last several years we have seen an unwavering commitment to excellence with regard to comprehensive cardiac services at Baylor Scott & White– Round Rock," added Dr. Watson. "This has led to recognition nationwide regarding the quality of care we provide to our patients. I am extremely proud to work with such outstanding team and with a highly qualified cardiology staff. As we commemorate this milestone, I hope the patients we serve will continue to share their quality experience with others in the community."

About Baylor Scott & White Health
As the largest not-for-profit health system in the state of Texas, Baylor Scott & White promotes the health and well-being of every individual, family and community it serves. It is committed to making quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable through its integrated delivery network, which includes the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance and its leading digital health platform – MyBSWHealth. Through 51 hospitals and more than 1,100 access points, including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Temple, the system offers the full continuum of care, from primary to award-winning specialty care. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing more than a century ago, Baylor Scott & White today serves more than three million Texans. For more information, visit: