BACKGROUND - : A patent foramen ovale (PFO) may permit arterial embolization of thrombi that accumulate on the leads of cardiac implantable electronic devices in the right-sided cardiac chambers. We sought to determine whether a PFO increases the risk of stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA) in patients with endocardial leads. METHODS AND RESULTS - : We retrospectively evaluated all patients who had endocardial leads implanted between January 1, 2000, and October 25, 2010, at Mayo Clinic Rochester. Echocardiography was used to establish definite PFO and non-PFO cohorts. The primary end point of stroke/TIA consistent with a cardioembolic etiology and the secondary end point of mortality during postimplantation follow-up were compared in PFO versus non-PFO patients with the use of Cox proportional hazards models. We analyzed 6075 patients (364 with PFO) followed for a mean 4.7±3.1 years. The primary end point of stroke/TIA was met in 30/364 (8.2%) PFO versus 117/5711 (2.0%) non-PFO patients (hazard ratio, 3.49; 95% confidence interval, 2.33-5.25; P<0.0001). The association of PFO with stroke/TIA remained significant after multivariable adjustment for age, sex, history of stroke/TIA, atrial fibrillation, and baseline aspirin/warfarin use (hazard ratio, 3.30; 95% confidence interval, 2.19-4.96; P<0.0001). There was no significant difference in all-cause mortality between PFO and non-PFO patients (hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.77-1.07; P=0.25). CONCLUSIONS - : In patients with endocardial leads, the presence of a PFO on routine echocardiography is associated with a substantially increased risk of embolic stroke/TIA. This finding suggests a role of screening for PFOs in patients who require cardiac implantable electronic devices; if a PFO is detected, PFO closure, anticoagulation, or nonvascular lead placement may be considered.
- International Classification of Diseases
- foramen ovale
- ischemic attack, transient