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.

Related Questions

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...

What is the treatment for patent foramen ovale?

Options. There are different options available for the closure of a patent foramen ovale. In some patients, no treatment is necessary so long as there are no associated troubles. Those requiring closure have options that can include surgery or more commonly a percutaneous closure. This involves a cardiac catheterization to assess the size of the hole and then placement of a device to close the hole. Read more...
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...

Please help! What is the difference between patent foramen ovale and atrial septum defect?

Similar. An ostium secundum atrial septal defect and a patent foramen ovale are both "holes" in the same place in the atrial septum, which is the wall between the right and left atria. Everyone has a different definition. In infancy, many will call a hole less than 3 or 4 mm in diameter a pfo as they almost all go on to close without treatment. Some call all defects with flow from la to RA an asd. Read more...

What is the difference between a patent foramen ovale and atrial septum defect?

Different. Patent foramen ovale is a temporary natural opening between two atria that allows fetal circulation to occur. Once born it closes spontaneously. An atrial septal defect is an abnormal opening between two atria that occurs due to incomplete formation of the atrial wall. It does not close spontaneously usually and may need surgery if it causes significant flow issues. Read more...

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...