I have a PFO. If you found this post by searching for PFO, then you know what it is. If you don’t know, PFO stands for patent foramen ovale. It is a ‘hole’ in the heart. The blood in the upper chambers of my heart (the atria) flows back and forth sometimes. There should be a solid wall there separating them but in my heart there is a little open flap that allows the blood to flow straight across. The medical term for this is shunting. Shunting can produce a blood clot. A PFO is present in about 25% of the population. Most of the time, people with this don’t know it and are completely symptom free. There has been a long standing theory that having a PFO increases stroke risk. My neurosurgeon, the one who opened up my skull, said that my PFO caused my stroke and that I should get it closed. So, I was referred to a cardiologist. He had the opposite opinion. He said that the PFO probably had nothing to do with my stroke and the risks of having it closed outweighed the benefits. So, I read the research (powerpoint presentation). I agree with my cardiologist. The research is pretty conclusive that a PFO does not increase stroke risk. I didn’t have mine closed. I chose not to close it and I have pretty much eliminated all other risk factors. Here’s hoping no future strokes!
The PFO Issue