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Spotlight on Patent foramen ovale

In this article, Dr. Shadi Yaghi and Dr. Shawna Cutting of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University discuss patent foramen ovale, a highly prevalent anomaly occurring in 25% to 30% of the general population.

Patent foramen ovale represents the postnatal persistence of the normally present foramen ovale, a flap valve structure formed by the septum primum and septum secundum in the fetus. Although it is generally asymptomatic, studies have found associations with ischemic stroke and migraine. The best treatment strategy for patent foramen ovale in the setting of ischemic stroke or migraine remains unclear. Randomized controlled trials on patent foramen ovale closure showed no benefit for secondary stroke prevention or migraine improvement.

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