What Are The Ways To Prevent Patent Foramen Ovale & Does It Reoccur?

PFO has strong ties with genetics meaning it runs in families, people who regularly have migraine seem to have patent foramen ovale generally, but they are often impossible to prevent.1

Stroke is one of the leading disabilities of adulthood in the United States and this condition can be prevented by PFO closure.2

Clinical studies state that recurrence rates were reported in 2004 in patent foramen ovale patients, but unexplained TIA was recorded at a mean of 2.3 years.3,4

What Are the Ways To Prevent Patent Foramen Ovale?

There is no known or little-known cause for congenital heart conditions like patent foramen ovale and perhaps no guaranteed way of preventing having an infant with this disorder. However, during your pregnancy, the below-mentioned advice can help prevent the risk.

  • Eat a healthy and more balanced diet
  • Regular physical activities after seeking advice from your healthcare provider
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce the consumption levels of alcohol
  • Keep your diabetes and blood pressure level under control.1

Hypoxemia is often related to PFO’s that occur due to reduced oxygen levels in the blood. This in turn causes headaches and shortness of breath. When you experience discomfort, it is recommendable to seek medical attention to assess if patent foramen ovale requires immediate repair.

PFO is initially treated through antiplatelet medicines such as aspirin to prevent blood clots. Warfarin, an anticoagulant has been used for years for blood clots but there are no proven theories to show that it reduced the risk of events. Later a catheter procedure is performed for patent foramen ovale closure.

There are no theories stating ways to prevent a patent foramen ovale or an ASD, but still, you can prevent serious disorders like heart attack and stroke by paying attention to their symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention.2

Does Patent Foramen Ovale Reoccur?

A study was conducted on 1078 patients who underwent patent foramen ovale closure. These patients were monitored for 3.7 years. The study demonstrated that residual shunt occurred in 25% of patients and small shunts were noticed in 14% of patients after PFO closure. However moderate shunt was noticed only in a small percentage of patients.

Furthermore, transient ischemic stroke was observed in 18 patients. A moderate and large-sized residual shunt was associated with an increased risk of transient ischemic attack and recurrent stroke. Patent foramen ovale is a hypothetically variable risk factor for stroke recurrence in individuals with cryptogenic stroke. Neurologists ascertained all recurrent strokes and TIA’s based on the diagnosis. The diagnostic check-up was performed to determine the etiology of recurrent occurrence.

The frequency of recurrent stroke or TIA was higher when patients were treated with antiplatelet and most of the incidence was cryptogenic.

However, patent foramen ovale closure helps to prevent recurrent stroke and transient ischemic attacks.3,4

Problems occurring at the time of birth that affects the fetal circulation to life often leads to congenital heart conditions such as patent foramen ovale. The fetus’s heart begins to beat as early as 22 days in pregnancy. Complex folding and formation of distinct chambers occur along with fetal development separated by valves.

The fetus breathes oxygen through the umbilical cord which instead changes to lungs after birth. However, when the hole doesn’t close on its own, it results in patent foramen ovale. Most CHD conditions including patent foramen ovale are preventable nevertheless we can avoid further complications through proper lifestyle and treatments.

References:

  1. “Patent Foramen Ovale.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 8 Mar. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/patent-foramen-ovale/symptoms-causes/syc-20353487.
  2. “Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth.” Edited by Mary Bailey Mehta, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Apr. 2018, kidshealth.org/en/parents/pfo.html
  3. DE;, Kent DM;Thaler. “Is Patent Foramen Ovale a Modifiable Risk Factor for Stroke Recurrence?” Stroke, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20876498/
  4. “PFO Closure Strategies to Prevent Cryptogenic Stroke Recurrence.” Cardiac Interventions Today, Bryn Mawr Communications, citoday.com/articles/2017-may-june/pfo-closure-strategies-to-prevent-cryptogenic-stroke-recurrence

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