, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 483-490

The management of patients with patent foramen ovale and stroke

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Opinion statement

The management of patients with patent foramen ovale (PFO) and stroke remains uncertain. What is known is that PFO is a very common finding in the general population. The risk of initial and recurrent stroke in individuals with PFO is relatively low. With the advent of transesophageal echocardiography, PFO is more commonly being diagnosed. There are insufficient data to support a benefit of warfarin over aspirin in preventing recurrent stroke in most patients with PFO. In those with PFO and a history of a procoagulant state or deep venous thrombosis, anticoagulation may be indicated after weighing the risks of anticoagulation against potential benefits in preventing recurrent stroke. PFO closure does not guarantee the prevention of future stroke and should be addressed case by case, with consideration of patients for entry into ongoing clinical trials of safety, efficacy, and durability.