PFO Associated Disease Including
What is a PFO?
Assessment for the presence of a PFO is useful for:
- patients who have suffered a TIA/stroke or heart attack from a blood clot that cannot be explained
- sufferers of severe migraine with or without aura (with life disabling symptoms)
- commercial, military or advanced recreational divers
Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is a flap-like opening between the two upper chambers of the heart known as the left and right atria. A PFO is present in approximately 25% of the population. PFO is not a heart defect; it is a remnant of the foetal blood circulation. In the womb, all babies have this opening to allow the circulation to bypass the lungs. After birth this flap normally closes to form a solid wall (called a septum) between the chambers. If the PFO does not close, the opening can permit venous blood, normally filtered by the lungs, to pass unfiltered into the left atrium and out to the body, including the brain.
PFO is associated with a number of medical conditions including Migraine, Decompression Illness, Stroke and other Thromboemboli (clots travelling to organs such as legs, kidneys, gut …). The same conditions can occur from an atrial septal defect (ASD) which PFO is a sometimes labelled as.
Coastal Heart & Vascular has a keen interest in these conditions, and their relationship to patent foramen ovale. We are involved in research and the clinical application of the latest knowledge in this area.
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Coastal Heart & Vascular is a multidisciplinary team of specialists who provide
cardiology services and cardiac care.