Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

After a stroke with no clear cause, a heart repair may be in order

December 1, 2017

Closing a gap inside the heart may help prevent a rare type of stroke from recurring.

h1217d16207256446485
Image: Adapted from © rabbitteam/Thinkstock

Most strokes occur when a clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain. Often, doctors can tell what caused the clot to form. But about a quarter of the time — especially in people younger than 60 — there is no obvious reason. These types of strokes are known as cryptogenic (meaning "of hidden origin").

One possible cause underlying a cryptogenic stroke is an opening in the wall that separates the heart's right and left upper chambers (atria). Known as a patent foramen ovale, or PFO, this flaplike opening is quite common. About one-quarter of all adults have a PFO (see "What is a patent foramen ovale?").

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.