Clinical DIMENSIONPatent Foramen Ovale and Cryptogenic StrokeJaquis, Jeri MSN, APRN, BCAuthor Information Jeri Jaquis, MSN, APRN, BC, is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, University of Texas, Medical Branch. She is an adult nurse practitioner and has worked in the cardiology department. She met a young woman who had experienced a stroke. She reviewed her history and discovered that she had a patent foramen ovale. Ms Jaquis performed a literature search and discovered the incidence of a patent foramen ovale and a cryptogenic stroke. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jeri Jaquis, MSN, APRN, BC, School of Nursing, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd, Galveston, TX 77555-0129 ([email protected]). Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing: November 2007 - Volume 26 - Issue 6 - p 233-236 doi: 10.1097/01.DCC.0000297396.81316.78 Buy Metrics AbstractIn Brief Strokes are the leading cause of long-term, serious disability. A variety of identifiable risk factors exists for the development of a stroke. Individuals who had no definite and clearly identifiable cause for a stroke experience a cryptogenic stroke. The presence of a patent foramen ovale, a flaplike opening of the atrial septum between the septum primum and secundum, contributes to a 40% to 56% incidence of a cryptogenic stroke. This article reviews the pathophysiology of a patent foramen ovale, the diagnostic tests, and nurse's awareness of the potential etiology of a stroke in a younger individual. Strokes are the third leading cause of death of Americans. An estimated 98,000 to 139,000 strokes a year are associated with a patent foramen ovale. This article reviews the pathophysiology of a patent forament ovale as well as diagnostic studies and the role of the critical care nurse. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.