Overview

What Is Patent Foramen Ovale?

A patent foramen ovale (PFO), or hole in the heart, is a congenital condition that may increase the risk of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in adults.

All people have flap-like openings in their hearts. Although these openings close shortly after birth, in some people the open flap, the PFO, remains. This may allow a blood clot to travel through that flap and into the brain, causing a stroke.

If a person has a stroke or TIA without warning and without obvious risk factors, it may be caused by a PFO. About 1 in 5 Americans has a PFO. There are usually no symptoms.

Northwestern Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center
The Northwestern Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center offers comprehensive care for stroke, including advanced diagnostic imaging, multi-modal treatment and rehabilitation for patients with stroke and cerebrovascular disease.

Physician specialists* at the Stroke Center have clinical and research expertise in:

  • Neurocritical care
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Interventional neuroradiology
  • Neurological rehabilitation

Members of the Stroke Center team work with specialists from the Shirley Ryan Abilitylab to optimize rehabilitation following stroke. Shirley Ryan Abilitylab physicians and occupational and physical therapists evaluate each patient's needs to help determine the most appropriate plan of care after discharge.

Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital's new Wood-Prince Family Stroke Center enables Northwestern Medicine to enhance our existing stroke care and advance the emergency care we provide to residents of Lake County.

Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) has been awarded the Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center designation by The Joint Commission. This level of certification recognizes the significant resources in staff, training and state-of-the-art infrastructure that comprehensive stroke centers must have to treat complex cases, including:

  • Round-the-clock access to advanced imaging capabilities and treatment options including IVt-PA clot-dissolving medication, endovascular interventions and clinical trials
  • Staff who are educated to care for complex stroke patients throughout the continuum of care, from EMS to discharge
  • A specially trained multi-disciplinary team* to coordinate individualized post-hospital care and goals for each patient
  • 24/7 access to a comprehensive stroke team* that includes neurologists, interventional neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons, neuro intensivists, neuro rehabilitation specialists, nurses, therapists, case managers and social workers

Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital has been awarded the Advanced Primary Stroke Center Certification by The Joint Commission. This certification recognizes that the services provided have the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes. It is a signal to the community that the quality of care provided is effectively managed to meet the unique and specialized needs of the stroke patients. Services provided include:

  • Round-the-clock access to advanced imaging capabilities and treatment with IVt-PA clot-dissolving medication
  • Staff educated in the care of stroke patients throughout the continuum of care, from EMS to discharge     
  • Board-certified physicians* including neurologists and neurosurgeons
  • Rehabilitation services throughout the continuum of care including post discharge

Related Resources

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Closure: Learn how to prepare and take care of yourself before and after this procedure. English | Russian | Spanish

Legal Information
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In the spirit of keeping you well-informed, the individual(s) identified are neither agents nor employees of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare or any of its affiliate organizations. They have selected our facilities as places where they want to treat and care for their private patients.