Cryptogenic Stroke and Patent Foramen Ovale

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018 Mar 6;71(9):1035-1043. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.12.059.


Nearly one-half of patients with cryptogenic stroke have a patent foramen ovale (PFO). The dilemma of whether to close these PFOs percutaneously, in an effort to reduce the risk of recurrent paradoxical embolism, has been a matter of ongoing debate for more than a decade. Early randomized clinical trials failed to demonstrate a significant benefit of percutaneous PFO closure for secondary prevention of cryptogenic stroke in an intention-to-treat analysis. The long-term follow-up data from the RESPECT trial and 2 new randomized trials (CLOSE and REDUCE) have clarified these findings. They showed that with good patient selection, transcatheter PFO closure significantly reduces the risk of recurrent stroke compared with medical therapy in patients with cryptogenic stroke, with no increased risk of serious adverse events or influence on major bleeding.

Keywords: anticoagulants; patent foramen ovale; right-to-left shunt; septal occluder; transesophageal echocardiography; transient ischemic attack.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Foramen Ovale, Patent / diagnostic imaging*
  • Foramen Ovale, Patent / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging*
  • Stroke / epidemiology*