Eli5: How do people survive with a hole in their heart? Does it not severely disrupt the flow of blood?

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Eli5: How do people survive with a hole in their heart? Does it not severely disrupt the flow of blood?

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2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

By the “hole in heart” you probably mean the _foramen ovale_ — an opening _inside_ the heart of a foetus, that allows blood flow between the atriums, that sometimes wouldn’t close completely after birth. This anomaly can lead to problems, as the oxygenated and unoxygenated blood will mix to some degree. But it is usually not fatal — the tissues will still get enough oxygen to survive.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Sometimes these are fixed through a catheterization procedure where a mesh patch is applied to close the hole. Other times the hole is not large enough to be a problem for oxygenation and is left in place but followed during the patient’s lifetime to make sure it does not become so large later that it needs intervention.