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Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) and Pregnancy
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Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) and Pregnancy

I'm a 36 year old woman, about 22 weeks pregnant with my second child.  I was diagnosed with idiopathic pericarditis a few weeks ago after complaining of chest pressure and shortness of breath.  I was prescribed a Medrol dosepack.  A follow-up echocardiogram showed evidence of a small patent foramen ovale with left to right shunting.  (My docs have attributed other findings in the echocardiogram -- mild left atrial enlargement, trivial mitral, tricuspid and pulmonary valve insufficiency -- to pregnancy.) I am very concerned however about the PFO and am not sure how to proceed.  How serious is this?  Could it impact my pregnancy?  How should I follow up, evaluate and monitor the condition after my pregnancy?  Any advice will be most appreciated!
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239757_tn?1213813182
bluedogbrush,

Generally atrial septal defects and patent foramen ovales are well tolerated during pregnancy. The biggest worry is the possiblity of a stroke or other embolism with the defect letting flow move from the right side of the heart to the left. While there are a few case reports, they are generally pretty rare and most likely nothing further needs to be done with you.

I would discuss the finding with your OB Gyn and go from there.

good luck
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Approximately 1/4 of the US population has a PFO, so no I wouldn't be too worried.  It's nothing I would follow up on, but that's just me talking.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 18weeks pregnant and have just been diagnosed with a Patent Foramen Ovale. I have had two T.I.A's and are now on twice daily injections of Hepran. Do you think there is any chance of my unborn child having the same condition at birth that I now have and what does my condition mean to me after my child is born. Will I have to have an operation as my doctor is suggesting. Or could I live with the condition?????
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