PFO closure can now be done at One Welbeck Heart Health by Dr Malik

The time  line for PFO closure in the UK. Dr Malik gives an update:


The strongest class of evidence (3 Randomised Trials) has been there since 2017. It reduces the risk of recurrent stroke if there is no obvious alternative cause found.  There has been no debate about the fact that for the right patient, PFO closure reduces risk of recurrent stroke.


The NHS finally approved PFO Closure!  I am glad I can now offer it to these young patients without the arguments about funding that have raged over the last 5 years.

NHS England recently published an article (read it here) where they announced:

“Hole in the heart – or Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) – is a common condition which can trigger strokes. This potentially lifesaving procedure helps remove the risk by closing the hole … this expected to benefit up to 1,500 patients a year. The decision to routinely fund PFO closure comes after the procedure was assessed under NHS England’s Commissioning through Evaluation programme which builds evidence about effectiveness.”

2020 April:

COVID-19 has really slowed up access to PFO closure in the NHS and private sectors. This is as all elective procedures were stopped for safety reasons.  However, we have linked to The Wellington Hospital to do Imperial College Healthcare NHS cases-it has been taken over to do NHS procedures.

2020 July:

I have done day-case PFO closure for 15 years in the NHS. I performed the first  PFO closure at One Welbeck Heart Health. This facility is COVID-free, and offers a personalised service for my patients. It has already been used for AF ablation, Cardioversion and Pacemaker procedures.


-Organisation is via Annalysse, our senior physiologist,

-Admission is to a private room on our operations floor, looked after by Tracey, our specialist nurse.

-The theatre team set things up, and the anaesthetist, imaging team and I then do the procedure.  That’s only takes about 20 minutes.

-Recovery is back in the same room the patient was admitted to initially. Tracey looks after them and makes sure they have woken up, had a cup of tea and a snack, and more importantly, get up and about.

-And then you go home!


I am proud to be the Medical Director of OWHH. It really is offering a world class service despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted on 29 July 2020
Author: Dr Iqbal Malik

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