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Interventional cardiology
Long-term results after fluoroscopy-guided closure of patent foramen ovale for secondary prevention of paradoxical embolism
  1. A Wahl1,
  2. M Kunz1,
  3. A Moschovitis1,
  4. T Nageh1,
  5. M Schwerzmann1,
  6. C Seiler1,
  7. H P Mattle2,
  8. S Windecker1,
  9. B Meier1
  1. 1
    Cardiology Department, University Hospital Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2
    Neurology Department, University Hospital Bern, Switzerland
  1. Professor B Meier, Cardiology Department, Swiss Cardiovascular Centre Bern, University Hospital, 3010 Bern, Switzerland; bernhard.meier{at}


Objectives: To carry out long-term follow-up after percutaneous closure of patent foramen ovale (PFO) in patients with cryptogenic stroke.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Single tertiary care centre.

Participants: 525 consecutive patients (mean (SD) age 51 (12) years; 56% male).

Interventions: Percutaneous PFO closure without intraprocedural echocardiography.

Main outcome measures: Freedom from recurrent embolic events.

Results: A mean (SD) of 1.7 (1.0) clinically apparent embolic events occurred for each patient, and 186 patients (35%) had >1 event. An atrial septal aneurysm was associated with the PFO in 161 patients (31%). All patients were followed up prospectively for up to 11 years. The implantation procedure failed in two patients (0.4%). There were 13 procedural complications (2.5%) without any long-term sequelae. Contrast transoesophageal echocardiography at 6 months showed complete closure in 86% of patients, and a minimal, moderate or large residual shunt in 9%, 3% and 2%, respectively. Patients with small occluders (<30 mm; n = 429) had fewer residual shunts (small 11% vs large 27%; p<0.001). During a mean (SD) follow-up of 2.9 (2.2) years (median 2.3 years; total 1534 patient-years), six ischaemic strokes, nine transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) and two peripheral emboli occurred. Freedom from recurrent stroke, TIA, or peripheral embolism was 98% at 1 year, 97% at 2 years and 96% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. A residual shunt (hazard ratio = 3.4; 95% CI 1.3 to 9.2) was a risk factor for recurrence.

Conclusions: This study attests to the long-term safety and efficacy of percutaneous PFO closure guided by fluoroscopy only for secondary prevention of paradoxical embolism in a large cohort of consecutive patients.

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  • Competing interests: BM: research grant and speaker bureau for AGA Medical.

  • Ethics approval: Obtained from local ethics committee.