What is a PFO?
One in four (25%) of the population have a patent foramen ovale (PFO). more commonly known as a hole in the heart. Initially thought to be benign, an emerging number of disease and conditions now appear related to the presence of the PFO.
There are known associations between stroke, migraine with aura and decompression illness but the true risk of to the wider population is not yet understood....
PFO Fast Facts
- A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is an opening covered by a flap of tissue in the wall of the heart that separates the two upper chambers or atria.
- PFOs are very common, more than 20% of all humans have one. Estimates range from 20-30% depending on the decade of life.
- PFO’s are found in up to 55% of young (<60 yo) patients with stroke of unknown cause and 50-75% of patients suffering from migraine with aura.
- Unless a patient has symptoms related to a PFO or other associated heart defects, there’s no need to seek treatment.
- Most PFO’s in healthy people are incidental findings but in some patients the PFO is related to a problem.
- The most common problem associated with a PFO has been a stroke or a temporary neurological event and/or severe migraine headaches.
- A PFO can allow deoxygenated blood (venous blood with a low amount of oxygen) or blood clots to pass from the right side of the heart to the left and travel to the brain, preventing blood flow to that part of the brain or lowering oxygen levels for the whole body.
- PFO treatment for patients with strokes of unknown cause typically involves extended use of blood-thinning medication such as aspirin, or prescription drugs, or physically closing the PFO using one of several devices
- Clinical trials have now proven PFO closure to effective at stroke prevention
- We need to understand who is at risk and how best to treat them. This is best achieved by using the latest metabolomic and genetic research techniques through the use of 'Big Data'. In this was we hope to unmask the true identity of the PFO.
We have teamed up with mycause, Australia's #1 online fundraising & crowdfunding site to help us raise money to get our pioneering PFO genetic study underway.
Click on the links below to go straight to our mycause webpage to donate or see how you can help.
Our Research Goals
Genomic and Metabolomic traits of a patient with PFO
Relationships between PFO, Stroke & Dementia
links between PFO & migraine with aura
High Performance Athletes and PFO
Dr Kasner discusses the results of Gore REDUCE trial for closure of PFO after cryptogenic (unknown cause) stroke. Excellent results that should change the way PFO’s are treated in the stroke population in patients under 60 years of age.
We are very exited to announce a new partnership with The Newcastle branch of Bentleys Chartered Accountants and Business Advisory. They have been assisting with all of our accounting, compliance and auditing processes required for us to operate as a registered charity in Australia. They have agreed to provide this support free of charge. This will enable us to channel all of our funds towards the ground breaking genetic, physiological and psychological research into PFO about to get underway. Thank … read more