Patent Foramen Ovale: Stroke & TIA

Kintur A. Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI -  - Board Certified Cardiologist

NJ Heart & Vascular Care

Kintur A. Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Board Certified Cardiologist & Cardiovascular Physician located in Princeton, NJ & Hamilton Square, NJ

A stroke, cerebrovascular accident (CVA) is a serious medical event that can lead to long-term disability. Whentth stroke symptoms last less than 24 hours is is termed as "mini stroke" or "Transient Ischemic Event (TIA). At NJ Heart & Vascular Care in Princeton and Hamilton, New Jersey, cardiac specialist Kintur Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI, is experienced at providing the rapid medical attention you need to survive a stroke and avoid complications. He also offers therapies to help you prevent a stroke incident, especially when you’re at risk of patent foramen ovale or a cryptogenic stroke. To learn more about patent foramen ovale and stroke, set up an appointment today by calling the office or using the online scheduling tool.

Patent Foramen Ovale & Stroke Q & A

What is a patent foramen ovale?

Patent foramen ovale is a hole between the upper chambers of the heart, or the left and right atria. Everyone has this hole, but it usually closes right after birth. 

If it fails to close naturally, it can cause complications. Patent foramen ovale is considered a congenital birth defect.

Why does a patent foramen ovale occur?

The presence of the hole lets blood flow around the lungs. When a baby is in utero, they don’t use their lungs so it causes no issue.

It’s unknown why the opening doesn’t close in about one in every four people. There’s no risk factor, but it’s sometimes found along with other heart abnormalities.

How do I know I have a patent foramen ovale?

Patent forament can be diagnosed on an invasive test of "transesophegeal echocardiography" (TEE) or in a "trans-cranial Doppler" test with a contrast (Bubble) study. The success of eiather of this test in detecting the patent forament ovale is dependent on adequate expertise and correct technique.

Patent foramen ovale usually causes no symptoms in infants or adults. Sometimes, patent foramen ovale is associated with migraines in adults. Rarely, you might experience shortness of breath or low oxygen when seated or standing. This is described as "orthodexia platypnea". 

Even if patent foramen ovale is found, it’s not usually treated unless you have other heart problems or experience a stroke due to the condition. If an infant or adult has a patent foramen ovale, they can go on to live a normal, healthy life.

What should I know about a patent foramen ovale and stroke?

In rare instances, the condition can increase your risk of a certain type of stroke. 

In a person without patent foramen ovale, a stroke may occur when a blood clot develops in a vein and breaks free, traveling to the right side of the heart and eventually to the lung.

If you have a patent foramen ovale, the clot could pass through the hole to the left side of your heart and eventually make its way to your brain, resulting in a cryptogenic stroke.

Recently, Hailey Bieber, only a 25-year-old celebrity, suffered "mini-stroke". He mini stroke was associated with 

How is the risk of a patent foramen ovale and stroke reduced?

Dr. Sanghvi has experience closing the hole in the heart that’s associated with cryptogenic stroke. He uses ultrasound imaging to guide a closure device through veins in the groin.

The procedure is minimally invasive and performed without general anesthesia. 

If you have patent foramen ovale, contact NJ Heart & Vascular Care to learn your treatment options. Call today to request an appointment or use the online scheduling tool.