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Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: PFO on echo

 babineau - Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:16 am

I am a 44 year old female who has been investigated for pulmonary hypertension in the past. Right heart catheterization was normal. My last echo showed a pulmonary pressure of 44, enlarged left atrium, hyperdynamic left ventricle and minimal enlargement of right heart chambers. The color doppler showed "suspicious flow, possible small PFO". My family doctor said I have a hole in my heart which is causing shunting. Could this be the cause of the elevated pulmonary pressure. What do they do about it?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:11 pm

User avatar Hi Babineau,

PFO's are actually relatively common. They are the remnants of a hole that was open before birth to allow some of the blood to bypass the lungs since they were not being used. At birth, the foramen ovale closes. When it remains slightly open it is referred to as a patent foramen ovale or PFO.

The blood flow across a PFO is generally quite small. I would not expect it to be enough to cause elevated pulmonary pressures. In your case, with the echo saying suspicious of a PFO it is even more likely that the amount of blood flow is minimal. If it were a lot, the report would not really have been suspicious.

I would recommend you continue to follow up with your cardiologist to try to determine the cause of your pulmonary hypertension.

Best wishes.

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