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Doctor insights on: Patent Foramen Ovale

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Dr. Donna Wilkins
160 doctors shared insights

Patent Foramen Ovale (Overview)

Hole or communication between right and left atria, the upper heart chambers. The hole is open during fetal circulation and closes after birth. If it remains open it is termed a patent foramen ovale. Symptoms depend on its size.


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What is the procedure for fixing a patent foramen ovale?

What is the procedure for fixing a patent foramen ovale?

Catheter based: A PFO is usually repaired with a heart catheterization. An occluding device is delivered with a catheter from the leg and placed in the pfo. Closure is usually 100% effective. ...Read more

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Dr. Donna Wilkins
160 doctors shared insights

Patent Foramen Ovale (Overview)

Hole or communication between right and left atria, the upper heart chambers. The hole is open during fetal circulation and closes after birth. If it remains open it is termed a patent foramen ovale. Symptoms depend on its size.


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What are the symptoms of patent foramen ovale?

What are the symptoms of patent foramen ovale?

Usually none: Most pfo's are asymptomatic. In rare instances of clot formation, it can cross from venous to arterial side and cause stroke. ...Read more

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What are the tests for patent foramen ovale?

What are the tests for patent foramen ovale?

Echocardiogram: An ultrasound of the heart, called an echocardiogram, can detect patent foramen ovale - which, incidentally, is present in about a fourth of normal hearts and not always a cause for concern. ...Read more

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How do I know if I have a pfo(patent foramen ovale)?

Echo: Only way to know is by echocardiogram. Sometimes, especially in adults, an injection of agitated saline during the echo may be necessary. Also, if image quality is limited, which is usually the case in adults, a transesophageal echo (echo done through introducing the probe into the esophagus) is necessary to look for a patent foramen ovale (pfo). ...Read more

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D I had a stroke two years ago and today is clear that it was caused by patent foramen ovale. Can I keep doing sports like swimming, running, fitness?

Probably: First, we can rarely guarantee that a stroke is caused by a pfo--20-25% of the general population has a pfo, which means that anyone who has a stroke for any reason has a 20% chance of having a pfo. That being said, the younger and healthier a patient is, the more likely it is that the pfo was related to stroke. There is no contraindication to exercise with pfo. Check with your doctor to be sure. ...Read more

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How is PFO (patent foramen ovale) treated?

PFO: Patent foramen ovale or pfo is a congenital remnant which normally closes at birth but for several reasons can open later in life. Blood or clots can travel across and if they do, the opening should be closed. It can be closed either surgically or by a catheter based procedure. ...Read more

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What is the treatment for patent foramen ovale?

Nothing: Oftentimes no treatment is required unles symptomatic. If symptomatic then a device closure can be done by a cardiologist or surgical closure by a cardiac surgeon. ...Read more

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Whats a patent foramen ovale?

Whats a patent foramen ovale?

Small heart opening: It is an opening in the wall between the upper chambers of the heart that allows blood from the placenta to get to where it needs to go during fetal life. All babies are born with this. It usually closes after birth, but 20% of all adults still have this. It is normal, though it has been associated with stroke, migraine headach, and decompression illness in scuba divers. ...Read more

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What is a patent foramen ovale?

A hole in the heart: A patent foramen ovale (pfo) is a necessary hole between two upper chambers of the heart. This hole allows fetal blood circulation to occurr. Once the baby is born, circulation changes, the hole closes to allow normal post natal human circulatuin pathway. It remains open in a small number of patients and is usually asymptomatic. ...Read more

Foramen Ovale (Definition)

...In newborns, it allows proper circulation in the fetus by shunting blood coming from the mother's placenta to the left side of the baby's heart, which is pumped immediately out to the body. Nearly all infants have this structure still open when they are born, which usually close within weeks to months after birth. A small percentage of adults still can have an ...Read more