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A 29-year-old member asked:

how life threatening is having a pfo?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. William Davis
Vascular Surgery 39 years experience
Zero to bad!: 25% of us have a pfo and obviously most of us do fine. However i operated on a young lady yesterday (for a related condition) who was in severe congestive heart failure, mostly resolved by closing her pfo. Closure (if deemed necessary by a cardiologist) can often be achieved with catheter-based technology (amplatzer plug) rather than open-heart surgery.
Dr. Calvin Weisberger
Cardiology 51 years experience
PFO: Not usually life threatening but if a paradoxical embolus causes a stroke it can be.

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A 41-year-old member asked:

Does a PFO ever fix itself on its own?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. William Scott
Pediatric Cardiology 39 years experience
No: Pfo stands for patent (or open) foramen ovale. The foramen ovale usually closes shortly after birth. If it remains open beyond this time, it does not close. A PFO rarely causes problems and is present in many people.
A 30-year-old member asked:

What does it meant to have a PFO closure procedure?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Louis Grenzer
Cardiology 55 years experience
Close hole in heart: There is a connection between the left and right sides of the heart before you are born which normally closes at birth. Sometimes it does not close. It used to require surgery to close that hole but now a device can be put through the hole by putting a catheter (tube) into the heart through a vein in the leg. The device then is pushed through the hole. The device springs open and closes the hole.
A 32-year-old member asked:

What is the difference between PFO and pda?

2 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Rasak
Cardiology 33 years experience
Both congenital defe: Pfo is when the right atrium and left atrium communicate through a congenital foramen or " hole" . The passage between the 2 chambers is neccessary before birth so the baby can get oxygenated blood from its mom. When this fails to close(up to 20%), its called a patent foramen ovale.The ductus arteriosus connects the aorta and pulmonary artey . It usually closes after birth, if it doesnt its a pda.
A 47-year-old member asked:

What should I ask my doctor before I have a PFO closure?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Cynthia Thaik
Cardiology 31 years experience
See below: Pfo do not need to be closed unless causing stroke or systemic embolism or if associated with severe migraines. This needs to be distinguished from a atrial septal defect. So what i would ask is whether surgery indicated.
Astoria, NY
A 62-year-old male asked:

What is the different between a PFO and ostium secundum?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bennett Werner
Cardiology 44 years experience
Subtle: You're right that both can cause r to l shunt (and rarely l to r). But everyone is born with a foramen ovale (which is small) and when it fails to close, there is usually a flap and shunting only occurs with increased right atrial pressure (like during straining or cough). A secondum ASD is a fixed pathological defect in the interatrial septum. Size is variable. They're similar but different.
Dr. Mark Rasak
Dr. Mark Rasak commented
Cardiology 33 years experience
Well said.
Aug 22, 2013

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Last updated Jan 2, 2018

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