The Non-Surgical Closure of Congenital Heart Defects
What is an “open foramen ovale”? The open foramen ovale medical abbreviation PFO for “patent foramen ovale”) is a usually small, only a few millimeter thick, membrane-covered slit in the septum between the atria of the heart. It is a remnant from human embryonic development that usually closes during the newborn period; however, in 10-25% of newborns a small opening remains that generally has no ill effect. The PFO is often discovered as a harmless incidental finding of an ultrasound examination (echocardiography). In 1897, J. Conheim described for the first time in medical literature that a PFO could cause a fatal stroke by means of a paradoxical embolism.