Closure of patent foramen ovale or medical therapy alone for secondary prevention of cryptogenic cerebrovascular events

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Abstract

AIMS: About one-third of ischemic stroke are cryptogenic. Paradoxical embolism through patent foramen ovale (PFO) has been identified as a possible cause of cryptogenic stroke. Therefore, PFO closure has been considered for secondary prevention of cryptogenic stroke. However, randomized clinical trials (RCTs) comparing PFO closure versus medical therapy led to conflicting results. Our objectives were to examine if PFO closure is superior to medical therapy alone for secondary prevention of cryptogenic stroke and to investigate whether PFO closure is associated with an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter (AFL). METHODS: The authors systematically searched MEDLINE for RCTs that compared PFO closure with medical therapy. Efficacy outcome was cerebrovascular event (CVE) recurrence and safety outcome was new-onset atrial fibrillation/AFL. The outcomes of interest were investigated according to device type with subgroup analyses and meta-regression. RESULTS: The authors included eight RCTs constituting 4114 patients. Patients who underwent PFO closure had a lower risk of CVE recurrence compared with medically treated patients [relative risk (RR): 0.56; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.40-0.80; P = 0.001; I = 30%]. This protective effect was consistent across the different device types. Patients who underwent PFO closure developed more frequently atrial fibrillation/AFL (RR 4.96; 95% CI 2.74-8.99; P < 0.00001; I = 0%), which was mainly transient and within 1 month. Atrial fibrillation/AFL risk was consistent according to device types, although marginally significant in the Amplatzer subgroup. CONCLUSION: PFO closure might have a role in secondary CVE prevention of patients with PFO and cryptogenic stroke. However, it is associated with an increased incidence of new-onset atrial fibrillation/AFL especially within 1 month.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cardiovascular medicine (Hagerstown, Md.)
Volume19
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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