Multidisciplinary Assessment in Optimising Results of Percutaneous Patent Foramen Ovale Closure
Background: Percutaneous patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure is a therapeutic option to prevent recurrent cerebral ischaemia in patients with cryptogenic stroke and transient cerebral ischaemia (TIA). The apparent lack of benefit seen in previous randomised trials has, in part, reflected inclusion of patients with alternate mechanisms of stroke. The role of formal neurology involvement in accurately delineating the likely aetiology of stroke or TIA is crucial in appropriate identification of patients for device closure. Furthermore, as the benefits of device closure may accrue over time, long-term follow-up is essential to define the role of device closure in management of presumed cryptogenic stroke. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our experience with percutaneous PFO device closure since 2005. All subjects who underwent PFO closure at John Hunter and Lake Macquarie Private Hospitals were included in the study. All patients referred for device closure following cryptogenic stroke or TIA had first undergone formal neurology review with appropriate imaging and exclusion of paroxysmal atrial arrhythmia. Patients with a history of transient ischaemic attack (TIA) are frequently referred to a specialised clinic, aimed to identify patients with conditions not referable to cerebral ischaemia, with investigations initiated by the specialist clinic to elucidate an underlying aetiology. Outcome data was derived from the Hunter New England Area Local Health District Cardiac and Stroke Outcomes Unit, in addition to review of the medical record. The Cardiac and Stroke Outcomes Unit prospectively identified all patients presenting with stroke, TIA and atrial fibrillation. Results: One hundred and twelve consecutive patients undergoing percutaneous patent foramen ovale closure between 2005 and 2015 were identified. The average age was 42.7 years and 57 (50.9%) patients were male. Cryptogenic stroke (68.8%) and transient cerebral ischaemia (23.2%) were the most common indications for PFO closure, with the Amplatzer device used in 83 cases (74.1%). Early residual shunting was visible in seven patients (6.3%), however on follow-up agitated saline study only two patients had residual shunt (1.8%). The annual risk of recurrent stroke or TIA was 0.21%. Conclusions: Percutaneous patent foramen ovale closure can be performed safely and effectively in patients with paradoxical embolism. In selected patients, following appropriate multidisciplinary specialist pre-procedural assessment, excellent long-term results with low incidence of recurrent events may be achieved.
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