A patent foramen ovale is a relatively common finding in the general population and is associated with a number of conditions, including cryptogenic stroke. In 2014, percutaneous patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure is a frequently performed procedure; the bulk of these procedures being carried out for secondary prevention of cryptogenic stroke, along with other indications, such as prevention of decompression illness, platypnoea-orthodeoxia syndrome and migraine. Of these conditions the largest body of evidence available is for cryptogenic stroke and there is ongoing debate of the benefit of PFO closure over medical therapy. This article will review the available evidence of PFO closure in each of these contexts, with a particular focus on randomised controlled trials, and endeavour to outline in whom the evidence suggests closure should be considered.
Amit Bhan - Department of Cardiology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK; Department of Non-Invasive Cardiology, King’s College Hospital, London
Brian Clapp - Department of Cardiology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK