patent Foramen ovale

The foramen ovale is an opening in the wall separating the left and right upper chambers of the heart. In the unborn child the cardiac septum is not closed completely. The so-called foramen ovale creates a connection between the two atria, thus enabling the blood to flow from the right into the left atrium. Since the unborn child does not need a functional pulmonary circulation yet, the latter is bypassed by the connection between the two atria. Following birth, this connection starts to close. If this does not happen, it is called a patent foramen ovale.

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Synonyme: PFO

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