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Intracardiac Shunts: Treatment

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This information was reviewed and approved by Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC, FACP (11/1/2018).

How Is Intracardiac Shunt Treated? 

Treatment of intracardiac shunts depends on the kind of defect and presence (or absence) of other medical problems. ASDs almost always require treatment, due to the risk of developing heart failure and high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). Although ASDs can be treated surgically, most are closed with a device that can be delivered via a minimally invasive procedure using a cardiac catheter.

When PFOs are suspected to cause complications (low oxygen levels, decompression illness or repeated strokes), treatment with a closure device (minimally invasive procedure using a cardiac catheter) is often performed. Although the use of PFO closure devices for low oxygen levels is sometimes controversial, we actively investigate this group of patients. However, it should be noted that, in the absence of complications, most PFOs are thought to be benign and require no treatment.

What Do We Do at National Jewish Health?

We provide comprehensive cardiology evaluation and consultation and noninvasive, and sometimes invasive, cardiac testing. We evaluate and treat heart problems such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular prevention, heart valve problems and heart failure. In addition to treating traditional heart problems, we offer expertise in many other focus areas, including evaluation of patients with shortness of breath, sarcoidosis of the heart, diastolic dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension. In fact, we’re a full-service cardiology operation and handle a multitude of disease states.

Why National Jewish Health?

At National Jewish Health, we treat the whole person, not just the disease. Our cardiology team works with health care providers from all areas of the medical center, including rehabilitation therapists, dietitians and clinical researchers.

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.