The Amplatzer Septal Occluder
The words "you have a hole in your heart," can be devastating to hear. A million thoughts run through your mind, and it's hard to slow them down enough to concentrate on just one. If you can pick any thought out, though, it needs to be that there are treatment options available in the form of the Amplatzer Septal Occluder.
The Amplatzer Septal Occluder is used to correct heart defects resulting in an opening between the two upper chambers of the heart. It works to cover the holes, but also to encourage your body to repair them. The device itself is two small discs with a middle, referred to as a "waist". The discs are a Nitinol wire mesh made from an alloy of titanium and nickel.
Used to cover the hole, the Amplatzer Septal Occluder is implanted through a catheterization procedure. The catheter is inserted through a small incision in the groin and is threaded up to the heart through the blood vessels. This minimally-invasive procedure requires no surgery and therefore avoids many of the surgical fears that many heart patients face. The Amplatzer Septal Occluder is inserted through the catheter's tube by an Interventional Cardiologist.
Using x-ray and echocardiography technology, the doctor is able to find the proper placement of the device. One disc is expanded on either side of the tissue, effectively blocking off the hole. A special polyester fabric insert is used to create a foundation upon which your body's own tissue can start to grow to seal up the hole.
For those dealing with multiple holes, the Amplatzer Multi-Fenestrated Septal Occluder may be the right choice. It works in basically the same manner as the other device, only the discs are able to cover more than one hole as a time.
An Amplatzer Septal Occluder can be used in cases where a heart defect has occurred naturally, or where a hole has been created by a previous heart procedure, such as the fenestrated Fontan procedure. One the tissue grows over the device, the hole is blocked, and the wire mesh simply becomes a part of the heart wall.