The purpose of this review is to give a broad overview of the role of patent foramen ovale (PFO) in disease. The embryological origins of PFO are described before reviewing the different diagnostic modalities available, including transthoracic echocardiography, trans-oesophageal echocardiography and transcranial ultrasound scanning. The role, or proposed role, of PFO in conditions including cryptogenic stroke, decompression sickness and migraine are discussed, as well as different treatment options, including the evidence for closure of PFO. Some of the range of methods and devices used to close PFO are described, as are the possible complications when attempting closure.
For UK healthcare professionals only