What is a foramen ovale?

Normal hole. A foramen ovale is a normal opening between the upper chambers of the heart. It is present in every normal fetus to allow blood with oxygen to get from the placenta to where it needs to go in the fetus's body. This opening usually closes after birth, but is present in about 20% of all adults. It has been associated with some forms of stroke, migraine headaches, and decompression illness.

Related Questions

What is the foramen ovale?

Foramen ovale. In the heart the foramen ovale is described by this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foramen_ovale_%28heart%29 there is also a 'foramen ovale' in the brain. Read more...
Porthole in atria. Everyone has a patent foramen ovale that is closed by a flap of tissue that keeps blood from flowing from one atria to the other. Sometimes it stays open a little longer than average and allows some blood to circulate right to left or vice versa depending upon other clinical conditions. The foramen usually closes w/o any intervention. Read more...

Hi doctors, was just wondering what is a foramen ovale for the heart?

PFO. An atrial communication, a "hole", (pfo- patent foramen ovale) is present in all newborns. The pfo closes soon after birth usually. An ASD (atrial septal defect), a persistent larger atrial communication, is a defect that requires closure. A small pfo is present in a fair number of asymptomatic adults and does not usually require closure. Read more...
Hole in heart. The heart changes from fetal life to post birth life. The foramen ovale allows fetal circulation to get oxygenated blood from placenta to fetus. After birth the source of oxygen changes from placenta to infants lungs and the foramen ovale closes allowing the heart to allow adult or post birth type of circulation. Sometimes it remains open and causes a murmur. Read more...

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...

What is the reason a foramen ovale does not close at birth?

Closes in almost 70% It is not clear why it does not close completely in 25 to 40 % of people. When it dies not close at birth it is called pfo or persistent foramen ovale. This increases the risk of stoke. Read more...

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...
Echo. The simplest test would be physical exam to listen for murmurs coupled with a cardiac echo. Read more...

What are the symptoms of patent foramen ovale?

Mostly asymptomatic. A patent foramen ovale is a common developmental anomaly and is usually asymptomatic, if there are no other cardiac abnormalities. It does predispose the person to an uncommon event called paradoxical embolism where a venous embolus crosses over to the arterial side. Read more...
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...

Till what age can someone with patent foramen ovale live?

Normal. A person with a patent foramen ovale can live a normal life unless there are associated heart defects. Read more...
No difference. It is estimated that at least 25% of the population has a pfo. Most never know they have it and are unaffected by it. Generally, a pfo will have no effect on life expectancy. Read more...
Long life. A patent foramen ovale is very common, and usually it is not known. Typically you would expect a normal life span, unless it is a contributing factor in other health problems, such as a stroke. Read more...