Patent foramen ovale: A primer for headache physicians

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Evidence continues to mount relating the patent foramen ovale (PFO), a small flap-valve in the wall separating the right and left atria of the heart, and number of neurologic syndromes including thromboembolic stroke, migraine headache, and decompression illness in divers. With increasing focus on the migraine relationship, both industry and patients are looking to neurologists for additional information about this cardiac defect. This review will examine the PFO in detail: its role in the fetal circulation, the formation of the atrial septum, the disease processes felt to be associated with it and their probable mechanisms, current closure techniques, and upcoming trials of these techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-36
Number of pages14
JournalHeadache Currents
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac
  • Migraine headache
  • PFO
  • Patent foraman ovale
  • Transesophageal echocardiography
  • Visual aura


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