Objectives: In this study, we evaluated the incidence of new onset atrial fibrillation (symptomatic or detected by routine ECG) after patent foramen ovale (PFO-) closure.
Background: Although atrial fibrillation is known to occur in some patients following patent foramen ovale closure, the incidence and the risk associated with each device is not well known.
Methods: We evaluated 1,349 consecutive patients who underwent PFO closure with an approved device and examined the incidence and risk factors associated with the development of atrial fibrillation. The patients had a mean age of 50 years and underwent PFO closure for cerebrovascular accident in 696 (51.6%), transient ischemic attack in 610 (45.2%), paradoxical embolism in 22 (1.6%), decompression sickness in 13 (0.9%), and other reasons including migraine headaches in 6 (0.4%) of cases.
Results: Over a mean follow-up period of 38.1 +/- 28 months, 53 (3.9%) patients developed new onset atrial fibrillation, which is higher compared with an age-matched population. Of these, 33 (62.3%) patients developed atrial fibrillation within 4 weeks and 8 (15%) within 6 months following PFO closure (totally 77% from 0 to 6 months). The event consisted of a single paroxysm lasting less than 48 hr in 23 patients, resolving either spontaneously or with cardioversion. 40 (75.5%) patients were symptomatic at the time of diagnosis. Thirty (56.6%) patients developed chronic atrial fibrillation. On multivariate analysis, advanced age and use of the STARFlex device predicted atrial fibrillation.
Conclusions: The number of patients in whom atrial fibrillation was detected was relatively low. It is often a self-limited complication of PFO closure that may occur more frequently in elderly patients and those treated with the STARFlex device.
Copyright 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.