Medicine: Cryptogenic stroke and PFO

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  • 2018 04 Medicine, Cryptogenic stroke and PFO
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Cryptogenic stroke means unexplained stroke. The cause of the stroke remains unknown.
The foramen ovale is a small opening between the right atrium of the heart and the left atrium of the heart.
It closes during infancy in about 75%.
In about 25%, the foramen ovale doesn’t close during infancy and remains open also in adulthood = PFO (patent foramen ovale).
Most adults with a PFO never know they have it, because a PFO seldom causes signs or symptoms.
Nonetheless, PFO is more common in adults with cryptogenic strokes.
2 randomised controlled clinical studies and the longer follow-up of an earlier clinical study were published in 2017.
Taken together, these new results suggest a role for PFO closure in carefully selected patients with cryptogenic stroke.
Most probably, patients with substantial right-to-left shunting, atrial septal aneurysm, or both, would benefit from PFO closure.

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