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Doctor insights on: Patent Foramen Ovale With Left To Right Shunt

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What does small patent foramen ovale with noted bidirectional shunt mean?

What does small patent foramen ovale with noted bidirectional shunt mean?

PFO: The patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a small communication between the right and left upper chambers of your heart. It is needed for oxygenation when you're fetus. Sometimes it doesn't close. It is thought to be present in ~20 to 30% of the population. The shunt means they can see the passage of blood through it. This small hole is inconsequential and USUALLY requires no further testing or treatment. ...Read more

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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


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How is an emboli able to traverse a patent foramen ovale if the net flow of blood is from left to right atrium?

How is an emboli able to traverse a patent foramen ovale if the net flow of blood is from left to right atrium?

Possible: The heart is a pump and a dynamic process. The net pressure is from high to low. But invariably with activity motion and changing in position the flow can switch transiently. If a clot is in the flow at that time then it can become an arterial emboli with all its consequences. ...Read more

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How common is a patent foramen ovale?

How common is a patent foramen ovale?

Common: All infants have a patent foramen ovale (pfo) as a fetus. This allows the fetal circulation to flow. Once born the pfo will close as the concentratiojn of oxygen in the blood rises. In a small percentage of infants the pfo may persist. Figures on this occurrence vary from 10-15%. Rarely is any treatment required unless the blood flow is severely affected. Most close within 1-2 years of birth. ...Read more

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How serious a condition is a patent foramen ovale?

Mostly benign: This is a small window between the upper heart chambers that is usually blocked off after birth.When baby starts to breathe, the circulation changes, increasing pressure that closes a flap over this window.It can still open if pressures in the upper chambers allow it. Very rarely, a person can pass a clot though that point and trigger a stroke.For most of us, it is of no functional importance. ...Read more

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What is done for a baby with a patent foramen ovale?

Usually nothing: If asymptomatic usually nothing is done. One should have regular cardiology follow up until cleared permanently by your cardiologist. ...Read more

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Untill what age could a person with patent foramen ovale live?

No different: As long as anyone else without one. It does not predispose one toward early death , etc. ...Read more

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Is it possible for a child to have a patent foramen ovale (pfo) and a patent ductis arteriosus (pda)?

Is it possible for a child to have a patent foramen ovale (pfo) and a patent ductis arteriosus (pda)?

Yes: It is a normal feature of the heart prior to birth and may persist in some. The PDA is usually picked up on exam, the pfo would only be accessible to advanced studies. ...Read more

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Can you give me more info on experience with a child who has a patent foramen ovale (pfo) and a patent ductis arteriosus (pda)?

Common: All normal fetuses have a pfo and a pda. These are connections between the "left heart" and the "right heart" that allow blood to bypass the lungs and flow properly to the placenta. Typically, in the first 24 hours after birth, the PDA closes. Pfo closure can be more gradual and can be present for many months, and still be a normal finding. Persistent patency can be a problem. ...Read more

Dr. Donna Wilkins
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Patent Foramen Ovale (Definition)

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 ...Read more


Shunt (Definition)

Device that allows the flow of usually a fluid between two places. Sometimes a shunt may be used during carotid endarterectomy surgery to maintain the blood flow to the brain while the carotid artery ...Read more