What is a PFO?
The abbreviation PFO stands for 'patent forame ovale'. It is a hole between the two atria of the heart which fails to close. Normally it would do so shortly after birth. But in about one quarter of the population, the hole remains open - and this valve-like aperture in the atrial septum of the heart may later be responsible for the patient suffering a stroke.
Patients who suffer from a cryptogenic stroke, i.e. one with no treatable cause, are also more likely to have a PFO than people of the same age who have never had a stroke.
Catheter-based umbrella implantation can be of assistance.