Patent foramen ovale closure to prevent secondary neurologic events

Published: 3 July 2017
Author(s): Rosie Jasper, James C. Blankenship
Issue: July 2017
Section: Narrative Review

In October of 2016 the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the Amplatzer Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) occluder device for use in patients with cryptogenic stroke, to reduce the risk of recurrent stroke. This event followed 15years of off-label use of atrial septal occluder devices, 3 randomized trials, and enormous controversy over the efficacy of this procedure. While none of the trials reached the primary endpoint needed to prove the efficacy of PFO closure in preventing recurrent stroke, meta-analyses and 5-year follow-up of 1 trial suggest that PFO closure decreases the risk of recurrent stroke, especially in sub-groups with large shunts and atrial septal aneurysms, and especially when the Amplatzer device (rather than other devices) is used.