Patent foramen ovale and stroke

Jump to: navigation, search

Patent Foramen Ovale Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective




Differentiating Patent Foramen Ovale from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis

PFO and Stroke


Diagnostic Study of Choice

History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings



Echocardiography and Ultrasound



Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy



Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

Future or Investigational Therapies

Case Studies

Case #1

Patent foramen ovale and stroke On the Web

Most recent articles

Most cited articles

Review articles

CME Programs

Powerpoint slides


American Roentgen Ray Society Images of Patent foramen ovale and stroke

All Images
Echo & Ultrasound
CT Images

Ongoing Trials at Clinical

US National Guidelines Clearinghouse

NICE Guidance

FDA on Patent foramen ovale and stroke

CDC on Patent foramen ovale and stroke

Patent foramen ovale and stroke in the news

Blogs on Patent foramen ovale and stroke

Directions to Hospitals Treating Patent foramen ovale

Risk calculators and risk factors for Patent foramen ovale and stroke

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editors-In-Chief: Priyamvada Singh, M.B.B.S. [2], Ifeoma Odukwe, M.D. [3], Kristin Feeney, B.S. [4]


There is a lack of consensus on the association of patent foramen ovale and cryptogenic stroke. While some studies have demonstrated an increased incidence of patent foramen ovale in younger patients with cryptogenic stroke. Factors that might increase the occurrence of recurrent stroke in patients with patent foramen ovale are atrial septal aneurysm, bigger shunts and longer tunnels. Some systematic reviews done to compare medical versus percutaneous closure, found the rate of recurrent strokes with medical treatment to be greater than that with percutaneous closure. However, the results of these systematic reviews should be carefully interpreted, as the individual studies included in the review were very heterogeneous.

Patent Foramen Ovale and Stroke

Association of Cryptogenic Stroke/Transient Ischemic Attacks with Patent Foramen Ovale

  • A cryptogenic stroke is one with undetermined pathogenesis.[1]
  • Patent foramen ovale can serve as a route for platelet aggregates, gas bubbles, thrombi, and other particulate matter to travel through from the systemic venous circulation to the brain.[1]
  • One in every four cases of ischemic stroke does not have an identifiable cause other than cryptogenic stroke which is a diagnosis of exclusion[2]
  • The association between the presence of a patent foramen ovale and cryptogenic stroke is controversial and inconsistent. While some studies have demonstrated an increased incidence of patent foramen ovale in younger patients with cryptogenic stroke, others failed to show an association [3][4][1]

Patent Foramen Ovale and First Stroke

  • Although, two prospective cohort studies namely, ‘ The Northern Manhattan Study’ (NOMAS) and 'Stroke Prevention: Assessment of Risk in a Community' (SPARC), found an increased incidence of first stroke in patients with patent foramen ovale, both these studies did not reach a statistical significance.[5][6]

Patent Foramen Ovale and Recurrent Stroke

  • There exists a discrepancy on the influence of patent foramen ovale (PFO) on recurrent stroke (after first episode of cryptogenic stroke).
  • Several factors have been found to be associated with a patent foramen ovale (PFO) that may increase the incidence of recurrent strokes namely, atrial septal aneurysm, (ASA) in association with PFO, bigger shunts and longer tunnels [7][8]
  • Nevertheless, some studies have found no association between patent foramen ovale or abnormal septal morphology with recurrent strokes [9].
  • Studies have failed to show that patent foramen ovale increases the risk of recurrent stroke in cryptogenic stroke patients with a patent foramen ovale when compared with those without a patent foramen ovale.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Kutty, Shelby; Sengupta, Partho P.; Khandheria, Bijoy K. (2012). "Patent Foramen Ovale". Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 59 (19): 1665–1671. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2011.09.085. ISSN 0735-1097.
  2. Sacco RL, Ellenberg JH, Mohr JP, Tatemichi TK, Hier DB, Price TR; et al. (1989). "Infarcts of undetermined cause: the NINCDS Stroke Data Bank". Ann Neurol. 25 (4): 382–90. doi:10.1002/ana.410250410. PMID 2712533.
  3. Poppert H, Morschhaeuser M, Feurer R, Bockelbrink A, Schwarze J, Esposito L; et al. (2008). "Lack of association between right-to-left shunt and cerebral ischemia after adjustment for gender and age". J Negat Results Biomed. 7: 7. doi:10.1186/1477-5751-7-7. PMC 2577085. PMID 18851751.
  4. Overell JR, Bone I, Lees KR (2000). "Interatrial septal abnormalities and stroke: a meta-analysis of case-control studies". Neurology. 55 (8): 1172–9. PMID 11071496.
  5. Di Tullio MR, Sacco RL, Sciacca RR, Jin Z, Homma S (2007). "Patent foramen ovale and the risk of ischemic stroke in a multiethnic population". J Am Coll Cardiol. 49 (7): 797–802. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2006.08.063. PMID 17306710.
  6. Meissner I, Khandheria BK, Heit JA, Petty GW, Sheps SG, Schwartz GL; et al. (2006). "Patent foramen ovale: innocent or guilty? Evidence from a prospective population-based study". J Am Coll Cardiol. 47 (2): 440–5. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2005.10.044. PMID 16412874.
  7. Goel SS, Tuzcu EM, Shishehbor MH, de Oliveira EI, Borek PP, Krasuski RA; et al. (2009). "Morphology of the patent foramen ovale in asymptomatic versus symptomatic (stroke or transient ischemic attack) patients". Am J Cardiol. 103 (1): 124–9. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.08.036. PMID 19101242.
  8. Mas JL, Arquizan C, Lamy C, Zuber M, Cabanes L, Derumeaux G; et al. (2001). "Recurrent cerebrovascular events associated with patent foramen ovale, atrial septal aneurysm, or both". N Engl J Med. 345 (24): 1740–6. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa011503. PMID 11742048.
  9. Serena J, Marti-Fàbregas J, Santamarina E, Rodríguez JJ, Perez-Ayuso MJ, Masjuan J; et al. (2008). "Recurrent stroke and massive right-to-left shunt: results from the prospective Spanish multicenter (CODICIA) study". Stroke. 39 (12): 3131–6. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.108.521427. PMID 18818401.