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How Common is a PFO?

Potential causes i Stock 641236100

Up to 25% of adults have a patent foramen ovale (PFO).¹

Patent foramen ovale heart

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

Patent foramen ovale (PFO) is an embryonic defect, seen in up to 25% of adults,¹ that has been associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke. PFO is defined as an opening in the septum between the atria that acts as a conduit for emboli from the deep veins of the pelvis or legs to the brain.

The foramen ovale remains open post birth

Open foramen ovale Before birth Open foramen ovale
Natural closure of the foramen ovale Post birth Natural closure of the foramen ovale
Foramen ovale remains open, creating a PFO Post birth Foramen ovale remains open, creating a PFO

Understand the options for PFO treatment

If your patient has had an ischemic stroke of unknown cause and has also been diagnosed with a PFO, it’s important to talk to them about the benefits and risks of available treatment options to reduce their risk of another stroke.

PFO Treatment options
  1. Kent DM, Thaler DE. Is patent foramen ovale a modifiable risk factor for stroke recurrence? Stroke. 2010;41(10 Suppl):S26-30. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.595140.
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