Major pulmonary embolism and hemodynamic stability from shunting through a patent foramen ovale.


Journal Article

While the combination of a patent foramen ovale (PFO) and thromboembolic disease is thought to portend increased morbidity and mortality, PFO presence in the setting of major pulmonary embolism (PE) may serve as a means to rescue patients from immediate hemodynamic collapse and death. We present two patients with major pulmonary embolism and right-to-left shunting consistent with PFO as seen on transthoracic echocardiography. In the setting of major PE, PFO may prevent acute right ventricular failure by acting as a 'pop-off' valve, alleviating increased ventricular pressures; but concomitantly portend deleterious effects in the form of paradoxical embolism and intractable hypoxemia.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Moua, T; Wood, KE; Atwater, BD; Runo, JR

Published Date

  • September 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 101 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 955 - 958

PubMed ID

  • 18708977

Pubmed Central ID

  • 18708977

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1541-8243

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e3181809ed8


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States