Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Glossary of Terms

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The following are terms associated with patent foramen ovale (PFO) and the procedure to close the heart defect:
  • Atrial Septum:The wall that divides the left and right atria (the upper two chambers of the normal heart)
  • Cardiac Catheterization:A procedure in which catheters are passed through the arteries and veins of the heart. Pressures are measured, and blood samples are taken from within the heart and its major blood vessels.
  • Catheter:A sterile, flexible, hollow tube designed for insertion into a vessel to permit injection or withdrawal of fluids or to pass devices through
  • Echocardiography/Echocardiogram:The use of ultra sound to look at the heart, valves and great vessels
  • Emboli:(plural of embolus) A mass, such as an air bubble or blood clot, that travels in the bloodstream and gets stuck in a small blood vessel and blocks or decreases blood flow
  • Occlusion:To occlude or block an opening
  • Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO):A term used to describe a small hole in the section of the atrial septum that is called the foramen ovale
  • Stroke:The sudden loss of brain function caused by a blocked or broken blood vessel to the brain
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): A temporary lack of oxygen to the brain