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Stroke. 1997 Dec;28(12):2376-81.

Surgical closure of patent foramen ovale in cryptogenic stroke patients.

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Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.



Patents foramen ovale (PFO) is associated with stroke of unknown etiology or cryptogenic stroke. However, optimal treatment to prevent recurrence in cryptogenic stroke patients with PFO is not clearly defined. Since PFO represents a surgically repairable lesion, interest in closing it is high. This report reviews our experience with cryptogenic stroke patients with PFO who underwent surgical PFO closure and were followed for recurrence of neurological events.


We followed 28 cryptogenic stroke patients (17 men, 11 women; mean age, 41 +/- 13 years) with transesophageal echocardiography-defined PFO who had undergone PFO closure by open thoracatomy. All patients selected for surgery refused, could not take, or failed warfarin therapy. They were followed by physician visits and telephone interviews.


There were no surgical complications. With a mean follow-up of 19 months, four patients experienced neurological event recurrence, one stroke, and three transient ischemic attacks. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis demonstrated that the actuarial rate of recurrence was 19.5% (95% confidence limit 2.2-36.8%) at 13 months of follow-up. None of the 17 patients (0%) younger than 45 years suffered a recurrence, whereas four of 11 patients (35%) aged 45 or older experienced a recurrence of neurological event (P < .02). Using a proportional hazards regression model, the increase in relative risk with increasing age was 2.76 per 10 years (95% confidence interval 1.07 to 7.16).


Although PFO is easily repairable in patients with crytogenic stroke, its closure does not consistently prevent recurrence of ischemic events. The recurrence appears to occur more frequently in older cryptogenic stroke patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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