Recurrent events after percutaneous closure of patent foramen ovale

Julia Wallenborn, Stefan C. Bertog, Jennifer Franke, Daniel H. Steinberg, Nicolas Majunke, Neil Wilson, Nina Wunderlich, Horst Sievert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives To determine the incidence of symptomatic recurrent embolic events after patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure and potential causes for these events. Background It is well-known that cerebral or other embolic events may occur after PFO closure. Methods This is a retrospective analysis of consecutive patients who underwent PFO closure for secondary prevention of embolic events at a single institution. Results 1,930 patients (mean age of 50 ± 13.3 years) underwent transcatheter PFO closure. Complete closure occurred in 92%. The annual recurrence rate of embolic events before PFO closure was 22.4% (785 events in 3,497 patient-years). During follow-up (mean 39 months), 63 recurrent events were documented: 25 strokes, 36 transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), and 2 peripheral embolic events. The overall annual recurrence rate after the procedure was 1% per year (63 events in 6,211 patient-years). The majority of events occurred in patients without residual shunts (54/63). There was no significant association between the presence of a residual shunt and recurrent events [hazard ratio (HR) 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.8-3.6, P = 0.16]. The most common cause for recurrent events was atherosclerosis. Nine out of 63 events were considered likely or possible paradoxical embolism due to residual shunt [stroke (2), TIA (5), and peripheral embolism (2)]. After PFO closure, the annual rate of events potentially related to paradoxical embolism was 0.14% (9 events in 6,211 patient-years). Conclusion The incidence of symptomatic embolic events after PFO closure is low. Most recurrent events are related to coexistent conditions associated with thromboembolic risk rather than residual shunts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-546
Number of pages6
JournalCatheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • patent foramen ovale
  • percutaneous closure
  • stroke

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