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.

Fig. 2: By dilating a balloon catheter, the dimension of the PFO can be...
Fig. 2: By dilating a balloon catheter, the dimension of the PFO can be measured. The shadow at the top of the image shows the tip of the Multiplane TEE transducer.

This article was first published in the VISIONS, issue 07/2005, a publication of Toshiba Medical Systems

08.08.2007

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