Learn About Patent Foramen Ovale

What is the definition of Patent Foramen Ovale?

Patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a hole between the left and right atria (upper chambers) of the heart. This hole exists in everyone before birth, but most often closes shortly after being born. PFO is what the hole is called when it fails to close naturally after a baby is born.

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What are the alternative names for Patent Foramen Ovale?

PFO; Congenital heart defect - PFO

What are the causes of Patent Foramen Ovale?

A foramen ovale allows blood to go around the lungs. A baby's lungs are not used when it grows in the womb, so the hole does not cause problems in an unborn infant.

The opening is supposed to close soon after birth, but sometimes it does not. In about 1 out of 4 people, the opening never closes. If it does not close, it is called a PFO.

The cause of a PFO is unknown. There are no known risk factors. It can be found along with other heart abnormalities such as atrial septal aneurysms or Chiari network.

What are the symptoms of Patent Foramen Ovale?

Infants with a PFO and no other heart defects do not have symptoms. Some adults with PFOs also suffer from migraine headaches.

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What are the current treatments for Patent Foramen Ovale?

This condition is not treated unless there are other heart problems, symptoms, or if the person had a stroke caused by a blood clot to the brain.

Treatment most often requires a procedure called cardiac catheterization, which is performed by a trained cardiologist to permanently seal the PFO. Open heart surgery is no longer used to treat this condition unless another surgery is being performed.

Who are the top Patent Foramen Ovale Local Doctors?
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Interventional Cardiology

Duke Health

Duke Cardiology At Southpoint

6301 Herndon Rd 
Durham, NC 27713

Richard Krasuski is a Cardiologist and an Interventional Cardiologist in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Krasuski has been practicing medicine for over 28 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Patent Foramen Ovale. He is also highly rated in 12 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Atrial Septal Defect, Patent Foramen Ovale, Congenital Heart Disease, and Pulmonary Hypertension. He is licensed to treat patients in Ohio. Dr. Krasuski is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
10
conditions
Cardiology
Interventional Cardiology

UCLA Health System

Cardiovascular Center, 100 Medical Plaza

100 Ucla Medical Plz 
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Jonathan Tobis is a Cardiologist and an Interventional Cardiologist in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Tobis has been practicing medicine for over 49 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Patent Foramen Ovale. He is also highly rated in 10 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Patent Foramen Ovale, Atrial Septal Defect, Patent Foramen Ovale Repair, and Coronary Heart Disease. He is licensed to treat patients in California. Dr. Tobis is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
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Elite
Highly rated in
12
conditions
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology

UCHealth

Structural Heart And Valve Clinic - Anschutz Medical Campus

12505 E 16th Ave 
Aurora, CO 80045

John Carroll is an Interventional Cardiologist and a Cardiologist in Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Carroll has been practicing medicine for over 46 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Patent Foramen Ovale. He is also highly rated in 12 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Patent Foramen Ovale, Atrial Septal Defect, Aortic Valve Stenosis, and Mitral Valve Regurgitation. He is licensed to treat patients in Colorado. Dr. Carroll is currently accepting new patients.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Patent Foramen Ovale?

An infant who has no other heart defects will have normal health and life span.

What are the possible complications of Patent Foramen Ovale?

Unless there are other defects, there are no complications from a PFO in most cases.

Some people may have a condition shortness of breath and low arterial blood oxygen levels when sitting or standing. This is called platypnea-orthodeoxia. This is rare.

Rarely, people with PFOs may have a higher rate of a certain type of stroke (called paradoxical thromboembolic stroke). In a paradoxical stroke, a blood clot that develops in a vein (often leg veins) breaks free and travels to the right side of the heart. Normally, this clot would then continue to the lungs, but in someone with a PFO, the clot could pass through the hole to the left side of the heart. It may then be pumped out to the body, travel to the brain and become stuck there, preventing blood flow to that part of the brain (stroke).

Having a very mobile septum between the atria along with a PFO may lead to a higher risk for having a stroke.

Some people may take medicines to prevent blood clots.

When should I contact a medical professional for Patent Foramen Ovale?

Call your health care provider if your baby turns blue when crying or having a bowel movement, has difficulty feeding, or showing poor growth.

Heart - section through the middle
What are the latest Patent Foramen Ovale Clinical Trials?
Assessment of Flecainide to Lower the Patent Foramen Ovale Closure Risk of Atrial Fibrillation or Tachycardia
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Suture Mediated Septal Defect Closure/Repair Evaluation of the NobleStitch EL System
What are the Latest Advances for Patent Foramen Ovale?
Short-term results of percutaneous closure of a patent foramen ovale guided by transoesophageal echocardiography in patients with cryptogenic stroke: a retrospective study.
Platelet P2Y12 Inhibitor in the Treatment and Prevention of Migraine: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
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Safety and efficacy of left atrial appendage closure combined with patent foramen ovale closure for atrial fibrillation patients with patent foramen ovale.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : October 10, 2021
Published By : Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Kliegman RM, St Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, et al. Acyanotic congenital heart disease: left-to-right shunt lesions. In: Kliegman RM, St Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 453.

Therrien J, Marelli AJ. Congenital heart disease in adults. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 61.

Valente AM, Dorfman AL, Babu-Narayan SV, Kreiger EV. Congenital heart disease in the adolescent and adult. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Bhatt DL, Solomon SD, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 82.