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Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

What is a Patent Foramen Ovale?

A small flap-like opening called the foramen ovale is in the wall between the right and left upper chambers of the heart. It is essential in the womb, but normally closes after birth. A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a flap that didn’t close.

This is present in 15-25% of all people and is usually of no consequence.  It usually doesn’t create any signs or symptoms.

How to diagnose a Patent Foramen Ovale

Our expert Cardiologists at OneWelbeck Heart Health use the latest technology to help diagnose the patent foramen ovale (PFO). However, it should only be looked for if you have had a stroke, decompression illness, or some other rare conditions.


Video of PFO Bubble Echo

Frequently Asked Questions

Conditions linked to PFO

As there are no signs or symptoms, a patent foramen ovale doesn’t cause complications. Some studies have found the disorder is more common in people with certain conditions:

  • Cryptogenic stroke
  • Decompression illness (DCI)
  • Orthodeoxya-Platypnoea Syndrome


Is Migraine associated with PFO?

Migraine itself has an association with PFO, but there is no convincing data that closing the PFO helps Migraine despite several research studies looking at this topic


If I have no symptoms, should I be screened for a PFO?


Patent Foramen Ovale Specialists

Our Heart Health specialists at OneWelbeck in London are leaders in their field. They are equipped with the latest diagnostic medical technology at custom-built, day-case facilities to investigate any symptoms and ensure you receive the best available care.

Contact Us

To speak with a specialist about Patent Foramen Ovale, contact our team today.
We are available from Monday to Friday: 8am – 8pm.