Patient Education Blog

Archive for the ‘Arterial clots’ Category

PFO = Patent Foramen Ovale

| Anatomy, Arterial clots, Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), Diagnosis, Medical tests | 1 Comment »


Some people have a “hole in the heart”, called a “patent foramen ovale” (PFO). This is a connection between the right and the left chamber (atrium) of the heart. We are all born with it – the unborn needs this connection for proper blood circulation. In most people the hole closes in the first few weeks after birth. However, in up to 25 % of people it stays open, equally often in men and women. A PFO usually does not cause symptoms. However, when a person has an acute DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and a clot breaks off and travels with the blood stream, it may cause problems.

DVT and PE in the person without PFO

In the person who does not have a PFO, a clot that breaks off from a DVT travels with the blood stream through the main vein in the abdomen to the chambers of the right side of the heart (color blue in figure 1 and 2). From there, it travels into the lung vessels, where it gets lodged, causing a pulmonary embolism (figure 1).

Figure 1. DVT and PE, no PFO present (graphic design: Jeff Harrison, Wilmington, NC; ©Stephan Moll)

Read the rest of this entry »

Unexplained Arterial Clots – Causes, Thrombophilia Testing

| Arterial clots, Clotting disorder - thrombophilia | Comments Off on Unexplained Arterial Clots – Causes, Thrombophilia Testing

Stephan Moll, MD writes…

Arteries are the blood vessels that lead blood away from the heart into the periphery, i.e. to the extremities, the brain, the abdominal and pelvic organs. They deliver oxygen to organs and muscles. Veins lead the blood back to the heart, from where it flows into the lung to take up fresh oxygen. Blood clots in arteries can lead to stroke (so called ischemic stroke), heart attacks, or gangrene of the extremities. Blood clots in veins are called superficial thrombophlebitis, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolism (PE). Read the rest of this entry »