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Clinical research

Comparison of outcome after patent foramen ovale closure in older versus younger patients

Aims: Percutaneous patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure seems to be effective for secondary prevention of cryptogenic stroke in patients younger than 55 years of age. The efficacy in older patients remains uncertain. We compared the efficacy of PFO closure between patients younger and older than 55 years.

Methods and results: All 335 patients (mean age 50.2±12.6 years; 205 men) with cryptogenic thromboembolism who underwent PFO closure in our centres between 1998 and 2008 were included. Mean follow-up period was 4.2±1.9 years in the elderly (n=120) and 3.8±2.4 years in the younger patients (n=215) (p=0.15). Prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia and coronary and peripheral artery disease was higher in the elderly (p<0.05 for all). Re-occurrence of stroke or TIA was higher in the elderly compared to the younger (annual event rate 2.4% versus 0.6%; log rank, p=0.005). Re-occurrence of stroke alone was higher in the elderly (annual event rate 1.2% versus 0.1%; log rank, p=0.01). Multivariate analysis showed that an age of >55 years was an independent predictor of recurrent stroke or TIA (HR 3.2, p=0.03).

Conclusions: Percutaneous PFO closure appears to be effective for secondary prevention of cryptogenic stroke in younger patients but seems to be related with less beneficial outcome in elderly. Randomised controlled trials are needed to confirm our findings.

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