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Life Expectancy Of Someone With Patent Foramen Ovale & Is PFO A Disability?

Most people will never realize they have a patent foramen ovaleso the average life expectancy is 50 years, your doctor will recommend PFO closure to prevent stroke.1,2

Stroke is one of the serious consequences of patent foramen ovaleand is regarded as a long-term disability worldwide.3

Symptomatic congenital heart condition is one of the qualifying conditions biased toward gross motor disabilities.4

Life Expectancy Of Someone With Patent Foramen Ovale

Life Expectancy Of Someone With Patent Foramen Ovale?

In most cases, PFO patients don’t require surgery or medicines for foramen ovale to close unless they have other conditions such as severe migraines, stroke, or medical history of traveling blood clots. Several studies have shown a strong relationship between patent foramen ovaleand recurrent stroke in young patients.

A study was collected on 138 patients with stroke and patent foramen ovale and thirty patients with stroke. A major group of these patients was less than 60 years old. The result showed

These patients suffered recurrent strokes due to unknown cause (cryptogenic stroke) or multiple transient ischemic strokes on the brain

PFO linked with ASD

When the heart was closely examined using transesophageal echocardiography, people in the age group between 50-60 developed microbubbles counted in the left atrium.

The study of selected stroke patients after surgical closure resulted in 0% recurrent strokes and no potential complications. Post PFO repair, the residual right to left shunting was very much reduced with longer life expectancy and presumed paradoxical embolism.1,2

Is Patent Foramen Ovale A Disability?

Currently, there is a lot of research and studies about this congenital heart condition. Since this is a very common condition and never produces complications, undergoing the surgery to prevent the risk of stroke and migraine isn’t worth the risk. But the literature remains very controversial due to inconclusive evidence on the long-term outcomes.3

Most congenital heart conditions come with serious limitations however some disorders like patent foramen ovaleare being barely noticed. However, if your type of patent foramen ovale is very severe such as a stroke that makes you unable to work then you will be eligible for disability benefits.

Congenital heart condition is classified into two types cyanotic(marked by or causing a bluish or purplish discoloration) when the heart is unable to provide enough oxygen to the body and acyanotic (cardiac malformations that affect the blood shunt from the left side of the heart to the right). Cyanosis is one of the rare symptoms of PFO, you will meet the general disability eligibility requirements. If you are seeking disability benefits first check with the Social Security Administration for eligibility.4

A patent foramen ovale is a small flap-like opening between the right and left atria of the heart. This is perhaps a part of fetal circulation allowing the blood to bypass the lungs by transporting oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body when the fetus is in the mother’s womb.

In general, patent foramen ovale closes on its own after birth but in some cases, it remains open either fully or partially with no symptoms. Most people with patent foramen ovale do not face any disruption in the heart function so the condition is not diagnosed until you undergo a test for other heart conditions.


  1. DevuystG;BogousslavskyJ;RuchatP;JeanrenaudX;DesplandPA;RegliF;AebischerN;KarpuzHM;CastilloV;GuffiM;Sadeghi H; “Prognosis after Stroke Followed by Surgical Closure of Patent Foramen Ovale: a Prospective Follow-up Study with Brain MRI and Simultaneous Transesophageal and Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound.” Neurology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8909423/.
  2. “Strategies for Healthy Aging – How to Live a Long Fulfilling Life – Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Closure.” Strategies for Healthy Aging – How to Live a Long Fulfilling Life – Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Closure – UAB Medicine, www.uabmedicine.org/patient-care/treatments/patent-foramen-ovale-pfo-closure/-/asset_publisher/ITz2iCG6ncwR/content/strategies-for-healthy-aging-how-to-live-a-long-fulfilling-life?inheritRedirect=true.
  3. Ali Ebrahimi H;Hamzeaie Moghadam A;Aredestani E; “Evaluation of Patent Foramen Ovale in Young Adults with Cryptogenic Stroke.” ARYA Atherosclerosis, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22577450/.
  4. Melissa Linebaugh, Contributing Author. “Congenital Heart Disease: When Are Disability Benefits Available?” Www.disabilitysecrets.com, Nolo, 16 July 2018, www.disabilitysecrets.com/resources/social-security-disability-coverage/congenital-heart-disease.htm.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 19, 2022

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