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Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2015 Feb;13(2):121-3. doi: 10.1586/14779072.2015.1000305. Epub 2015 Jan 5.

Percutaneous closure of patent foramen ovale: safe and effective but underutilized.

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University Heart Center Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


With three recently published randomized trials on patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure, the concept of PFO closure to reduce recurrent strokes has been proven; however, PFO closure is currently only considered for secondary prevention. Given the potential devastating consequences of a PFO-related event, we advocate screening for and closure of a PFO for primary prevention in high-risk populations. Such populations include patients who are suffering from a disease that is associated with PFO (e.g., migraine) or patients with high-risk hobbies/professions (e.g., weight-lifters, frequent-flyers, and deep sea divers). Looking at young people with a remaining average life expectancy of 50 years, we have to close 2.4 PFOs to prevent one stroke. This should support a more proactive attitude toward PFO screening and closure.


migraine; patent foramen ovale; percutaneous PFO closure; prevention; stroke

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