Background: Patent foramen ovale (PFO) has been associated with paradoxical embolism leading to stroke/transient ischemic attack, migraine, and neurological decompression sickness. In search for the optimal device that would achieve effective clinical closure with minimal complications, a better device selection based on PFO anatomy and improvements in device design is needed. The Flatstent is a new device designed to treat the highly prevalent long-tunnel PFOs from within, minimizing the amount of material left behind in an attempt to reduce device-related complications. The objective is to compare the safety and efficacy of the novel Flatstent versus the conventional umbrella devices in the transcatheter closure of PFO in a nonrandomized, retrospective, single-center study.
Methods: Between March 2010 and March 2013, 88 patients underwent PFO closure at The Heart Hospital, London with either the novel Flatstent or one of the four conventionally used umbrella devices (GORE Helex Septal Occluder, Occlutech Figulla Flex, Biostar Septal Occluder, and Amplatzer PFO Occluder) depending on their PFO anatomy. Patients were then evaluated with contrast transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and/or transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) at 6 weeks and 1 year after the procedure. The residual shunt and complication rates between the Flatstent and umbrella devices were compared.
Results: The Flatstent was used in 27 patients (30.7%), whereas 61 patients (69.3%) received one of the four umbrella devices. Primary efficacy point of clinical closure defined as grade 0 or grade 1; residual shunt was achieved in 81.3% in the Flatstent cohort and 80.3% in the umbrella device group at 6 weeks follow-up. At 1 year, the clinical closure rates reached 92.6 and 91.8%. There were two device embolizations, one in each cohort during the immediate postoperative period (<24 hrs), with successful retrieval. One patient in the umbrella device group developed transient atrial fibrillation, which was controlled medically. Event recurrence rate was 0% at 1 year.
Conclusion: No difference was found in closure or complication rates between the Flatstent and the umbrella devices. With appropriate preassessment of the PFO anatomy, the Flatstent works as a safe and effective method of treating the PFO from within the tunnel, especially in those with long-tunnel PFOs. Longer follow-up is needed to establish superiority.
Keywords: ASD/PFO; comparative effectiveness/patient centered outcomes research; device closure; interventional devices/innovation; new devices (in general); structural heart disease intervention.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.