Does transcatheter closure of patent foramen ovale really "shut the door?" A prospective study with transcranial Doppler

Gian Paolo Anzola, E. Morandi, F. Casilli, E. Onorato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose-Transcatheter closure of patent foramen ovale (PFO) is increasingly being performed and monitored with transthoracic or transesophageal echocardiography, whereas contrast-enhanced transcranial Doppler (ce-TCD), which probably represents the most suitable tool to quantify right-to-left shunt (RLS) in the brain vessels, has been systematically overlooked. Our goal is to prospectively assess efficacy and safety of PFO transcatheter closure using ce-TCD. Methods-A total of 140 consecutive patients (mean age, 46±13 years; male/female ratio, 63/77) with PFO-related large RLS and no other recognized cause of focal cerebral ischemia underwent transcatheter closure. TCD was done preoperatively and 1 month after the procedure in all patients, after 3 months in 120, after 6 months in 112, and after 1 year in 104 patients. Results-Implantation was successful in all patients. During Valsalva strain, a large shunt was still detectable in 31 of 140 (22%), 15 of 120 (13%), 9 of 112 (8%), and 9 of 104 (9%) patients at the 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month visits, respectively. Periprocedural and postprocedural complications included atrial fibrillation in 8% and scintillating scotomata in 6% of patients. During the 1-year follow-up period, only 1 transient ischemic attack was recorded in a patient with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and complete PFO closure. Conclusions-Transcatheter PFO closure in patients with cryptogenic stroke and large RLS may be less successful than reported previously. TCD appears the ideal tool to follow up the closure process and to identify early, during follow-up, those patients who will be left with a significant shunt. Atrial fibrillation is more common than believed previously and may underlie the occurrence of further cerebrovascular events despite complete PFO closure. Irritative visual phenomena may occur as a consequence of nickel toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2140-2144
Number of pages5
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004


  • Foramen ovale, patent
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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