SAGE Journals

Monitoring for atrial fibrillation prior to patent foramen ovale closure after cryptogenic stroke

Posted on 2022-09-19 - 12:08

Patients who had a cryptogenic stroke (CS) suspected to be causally related to a patent foramen ovale (PFO) are candidates for percutaneous PFO closure. In such patients, it is important to screen for atrial fibrillation (AF). Limited guidance is available regarding AF monitoring strategies in CS patients with PFO addressing optimal monitoring technology and duration.


To provide a narrative review of cardiac rhythm monitoring in CS patients considered for PFO closure, including current practices, stroke recurrences after CS, findings from monitoring studies in CS patients, and predictors for AF detection published in the literature. To propose a personalized strategy for cardiac monitoring in CS patients, accounting for aspects predicting AF detection.

Summary of review:

AF detection in CS patients is predicted by age, left atrial enlargement, prolonged PR interval, frequent premature atrial contractions, interatrial conduction block, diabetes, prior brain infarctions, leukoaraiosis, elevated B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP)/N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels, and a family history of AF, as well as composed scores (e.g. CHA2DS2-VASc, atrial fibrillation in embolic stroke of undetermined source (AF-ESUS)). The causal role of the PFO may be accounted for by the risk of paradoxical embolism (RoPE) score and/or the PFO-Associated Stroke Causal Likelihood (PASCAL) classification.


A personalized approach to AF detection in CS patients is proposed, accounting for the likelihood of AF detection and aimed at obtaining sufficient confidence regarding the absence of AF in patients considered for PFO closure. In addition, the impact of high-risk PFO features on the monitoring strategy is discussed.


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International Journal of Stroke


Hans-Christoph Diener
Rolf Wachter
Andrew Wong
Vincent Thijs
Renate B Schnabel
George Ntaios
Scott Kasner
Peter M Rothwell
Rod Passman
Jeffrey L Saver
Bert A Albers
Richard A Bernstein
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