Closing the gap on patent foramen ovale and cryptogenic stroke

Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2019 Jun;17(6):389-394. doi: 10.1080/14779072.2019.1627875. Epub 2019 Jun 11.


Introduction: The treatment options for prevention of recurrent of cryptogenic stroke in patients with patent foramen ovale (PFO) have been intensely debated in the recent decades. The suggested options were percutaneous closure of PFO versus medical therapy. However, up to these date there is a controversy regarding the indication of percutaneous closure. Multiple meta-analysis and recent randomized control trials showed the benefit of PFO closure when compared with medical therapy alone. Areas covered: The article reviews the prevalence, physiology, diagnosis and treatment options of PFO after cryptogenic stroke. Furthermore, it will discuss the results of randomized control trials that compared the PFO closure to medical therapy. Expert opinion: The association between PFO and unexplained cryptogenic stroke has been well established in the multiple studies. The diagnosis and management of PFO might be challenging in some cases. Although multiple studies showed that PFO closure is associated with lower rates of recurrent stroke in patients presenting with cryptogenic stroke, the indication and patient selection for this intervention are not well established yet in the guidelines.

Keywords: PFO closure; PFO physiology; Stroke; diagnosis; medical therapy; prevalence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Foramen Ovale, Patent / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / prevention & control*