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Open Access Open Badges Case report

Left ventricular decompression through a patent foramen ovale in a patient with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: a case report

Giuseppe Ando'1*, Fabrizio Tomai1 and Pier A Gioffre'2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy

2 European Hospital, Rome, Italy

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Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2004, 2:2  doi:10.1186/1476-7120-2-2

Published: 16 January 2004


The foramen ovale is considered an unidirectional flap-like valvular structure. Yet, it may increase in size and allow a continuous left-to-right shunt in order to reduce left ventricular filling pressures.

We report the case of a 63-year-old woman with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, referred for percutaneous closure of a coexisting secundum atrial septal defect. Before catheterization, however, transesophageal echocardiography revealed a continuous left-to-right shunt within the atrial septum, thus suggesting the diagnosis of patent foramen ovale with stable left-to-right shunt. At catheterization, performed under general anesthesia and transesophageal echocardiographic monitoring, left ventricular early- and end-diastolic pressures were 2 and 12 mmHg and pulmonary-to-systemic flow ratio was 1.4. Provocative maneuvers were not able to reverse the shunt. In order to assess the effect of the increased left ventricular preload due to the abolition of the shunt, an Amplatzer sizing balloon was inflated for 5 minutes across the patent foramen ovale. Diastolic pressures rose up to 5 and 18 mmHg, respectively. Such a worsening of left ventricular function suggested us not to perform the closure procedure.

Transcatheter closure of any interatrial communication with stable left-to-right shunt induces an abrupt overload of the left ventricle that may cause acute heart failure in patients with coexisting left ventricular dysfunction. The hemodynamic evaluation of left ventricular function during transient abolition of the shunt is an useful tool in order to establish the most correct therapeutic strategy. The closure procedure should not be performed if a worsening of left ventricular function occurs.