persistent foramen ovale
Also found in: Acronyms.
persistent foramen ovaleFailure of the hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart to close fully at birth. This opening is necessary during fetal life so that blood can bypass the lungs, but changes in pressure normally cause it to close after birth. In some cases a small opening remains, but this is usually harmless.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005