Secondary prevention of cryptogenic stroke in patients with patent foramen ovale: a systematic review and meta-analysis
The aim of our study is to compare patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure versus medical treatment and antiplatelet versus anticoagulant therapy in patients with cryptogenic stroke (CS) and PFO. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis with trial sequential analysis (TSA) of randomized trials. Primary outcomes are stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) and all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes are peripheral embolism, bleeding, serious adverse events, myocardial infarction and atrial dysrhythmias. We performed an intention to treat meta-analysis with a random-effects model. We include six trials (3677 patients, mean age 47.3 years, 55.8% men). PFO closure is associated with a lower recurrence of stroke or TIA at a mean follow-up of 3.88 years compared to medical therapy [risk ratio (RR) 0.55, 95% CI 0.38–0.81; I2 = 40%]. The TSA confirms this result. No difference is found in mortality (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.35–1.60; I2 = 0%), while PFO closure is associated with a higher incidence of atrial dysrhythmias (RR 4.55, 95% CI 2.16–9.60; I2 = 25%). The rate of the other outcomes is not different among the two groups. The comparison between anticoagulant and antiplatelet therapy shows no difference in terms of stroke recurrence, mortality and bleeding. There is conclusive evidence that PFO closure reduces the recurrence of stroke or TIA in patients younger than 60 years of age with CS. More data are warranted to assess the consequences of the increase in atrial dysrhythmias and the advantage of PFO closure over anticoagulants.
KeywordsIschemic stroke Patent foramen ovale Closure device Secondary prevention Systematic reviews Meta-analysis
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Statement of human and animal rights
This article does not contain any studies with human and animals performed by any of the authors.
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