Patent Foramen Ovale Images

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These images illustrate the capability of transthoracic studies to confirm the presence of a patent foramen ovale in some patients. Intravenous echo contrast may also be useful. Transesophageal echocardiography provides better resolution of the interatrial septum.

Short axis parasternal view of a narrow color flow jet in the right atrium.

Subcostal image in the same patient that raises the question of atrial septal defect. The membrane of the fossa ovalis is thinner than the rest of the atrial septal wall - resulting in echocardiographic dropout that mimics a non restrictive atrial septal defect.

Color flow (red) in the same patient confirms a small left to right shunt (rather than a large atrial septal defect). Contrast echocardiography is also useful. The right cardiac chambers were not dilated.

Transesophageal image of a patent foramen ovale at the University of Chicago Echocardiography Laboratory.

Pathological specimen illustrating the left atrial appearance of the membrane of the fossa ovalis. The probe is lifting the thin membrane. Under normal conditions the left atrial pressure is greater than the right atrial pressure, keeping the foramen closed.

Subcostal view of a patent foramen ovale in an elderly patient with marked biatrial enlargement.

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The contents and links on this page were last verified on March 20, 2013

by Dr. Olga Shindler