When a foramen ovale, a small opening with a flaplike valve between the right and left atria, hasn't closed by age 2 about 25 percent of the people with this condition can have migraines, sudden temporary blindness, stroke, vertigo and paralysis.
Carolyn E. Smith is a clinical staff nurse II at the ortho/neuro/trauma unit of York Hospital and adjunct nursing faculty at York College of Pennsylvania, both in York, Pa.
Most patients with PFO are asymptomatic.
Adapted and updated from Smith, CE, Understanding the role of patent foramen ovale in stroke. Nursing.2013;43(4)52-55.
The author has disclosed that she has no financial relationships related to this article.