Patent Foramen Ovale

Definition

During fetal development, there is an opening between the heart's left and right upper chambers. Normally, this opening closes shortly after birth. When this doesn't happen, the remaining hole is called Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO). It is generally considered a harmless heart condition.


Symptoms

People with patent foramen ovale usually don't experience any symptoms.

Diagnosis

Patent foramen ovale can be diagnosed through:

Treatment

Many people with PFO don't need treatment. Some will take medication. Patients at a higher risk of stroke might have a non-surgical procedure, including:

  • Closer device to close the PFO
  • A surgical procedure (heart surgery)