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    Background Patent foramen ovale (PFO)-associated platypnea-orthodeoxia syndrome is characterized by dyspnea and hypoxemia when upright. The pathogenesis is thought to involve an increase in right atrial pressure or change in degree of right to left shunting with upright posture. Methods and Results We sought to characterize patients with platypnea-orthodeoxia syndrome related to PFO without pulmonary hypertension. We retrospectively reviewed databases at 3 tertiary referral hospitals in New South Wales, Australia from 2000 to 2019. Fourteen patients with a mean age of 69±14 years had a PFO with wide tunnel separation. Mean New York Heart Association Classification was II (±0.9) and 7 inpatients had been confined to bed (from postural symptoms). Baseline oxygen saturations supine were 93%±5% and 84%±6% upright. Two patients had a minor congenital heart defect and 4 had mild parenchymal lung disease with preserved lung function. The mean aortic root diameter was 37±6 mm and distance between aortic root and posterior atrial wall was 16±2 mm. Platypnea-orthodeoxia syndrome was preceded by surgery in 5 patients and 1 patient had mild pneumonia. Successful closure of the PFO using an Amplatzer device was performed in 11 of 14 patients. Post-closure, all patients had New York Heart Association Classification I (improvement 1.6±0.9, P<0.003) and semi-recumbent oxygen saturations increased by 13%±8% (P<0.001, n=10). Conclusions Platypnea-orthodeoxia syndrome is a debilitating condition, curable by PFO closure. Anatomical distortion of the atrial septum related to a dilated aortic root or shortening of the distance between the aortic root and posterior atrial wall may contribute to the syndrome.


    Farrah Othman, Brian Bailey, Nicholas Collins, Edmund Lau, David Tanous, Karan Rao, David Celermajer, Rachael Cordina. Platypnea-Orthodeoxia Syndrome in the Setting of Patent Foramen Ovale Without Pulmonary Hypertension or Major Lung Disease. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2022 Aug 02;11(15):e024609

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    PMID: 35876406

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