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Patient Guide to PFO
The PFO Research Foundation was founded by PFO patients, in part, to share information with other patients so they can be informed and ultimately make the best decisions for their own care. We wrote this Patient Guide to PFO, with input from our extensive Medical Advisory Board, for PFO patients, family members, and caregivers.
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Patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a small opening in the wall of the heart that separates the two upper chambers or atria. It is due to a persistence of the fetal circulation where a flap-like opening does not close as it normally should after birth. It is very common to have a PFO and is found in approximately 20% of the adult population. This flap-like valve enables shunting (abnormal mixture of blood between the right and left sides of the heart), which is often dynamic and of variable degree.