Residual shunt after patent foramen ovale closure and long-term stroke recurrence: A prospective cohort study

Wenjun Deng, Shanye Yin, David McMullin, Ignacio Inglessis-Azuaje, Sammy Elmariah, Judy Hung, Eng H. Lo, Igor F. Palacios, Ferdinando S. Buonanno, Ming Ming Ning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Residual shunt is observed in up to 25% of patients after patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure, but its long-term influence on stroke recurrence currently is unknown. Objective: To investigate the association of residual shunt after PFO closure with the incidence of recurrent stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA). Design: Prospective cohort study comparing stroke or TIA recurrence in patients with and without residual shunt after PFO closure. Setting: Single hospital center. Participants: 1078 consecutive patients (mean age, 49.3 years) with PFO-attributable cryptogenic stroke who were undergoing percutaneous PFO closure were followed for up to 11 years. Measurements: Residual shunt was evaluated by transthoracic echocardiography with saline contrast. Primary outcome was a composite of the first recurrent ischemic stroke or TIA after PFO closure. Results: Compared with complete closure, the presence of residual shunt after PFO closure was associated with an increased incidence of recurrent stroke or TIA: 2.32 versus 0.75 events per 100 patient-years (hazard ratio [HR], 3.05 [95% CI, 1.65 to 5.62]; P < 0.001). This result remained robust after adjustment for important covariates, namely age; study period; device; presence of atrial septal aneurysm, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypercoagulability, or hypermobile septum; and medication use (HR, 3.01 [CI, 1.59 to 5.69]; P < 0.001). Further stratification based on shunt size revealed that moderate or large residual shunts were associated with a higher risk for stroke or TIA recurrence (HR, 4.50 [CI, 2.20 to 9.20]; P < 0.001); the result for small residual shunts was indeterminate (HR, 2.02 [CI, 0.87 to 4.69]; P = 0.102). Limitation: Nonrandomized study with potential unmeasured confounding. Conclusion: Among patients undergoing PFO closure to prevent future stroke, the presence of residual shunt, particularly a moderate or large residual shunt, was associated with an increased risk for stroke or TIA recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-725
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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