Harvard Heart Letter

Trials test closing a PFO

Strokes without a known cause are called cryptogenic strokes. One possible cause of these is a hole in the wall separating the right atrium from the left. Whether fixing this opening, called a patent foramen ovale (PAY-tent foe-RAY-men oh-VAH-lee, PFO) prevents such strokes has yet to be determined. It's possible we'll never have an answer because some doctors, researchers, and stroke victims seem to be convinced that closing a PFO is good medicine. That's why the American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, and American College of Cardiology are urging doctors to enroll patients with cryptogenic stroke in one of the ongoing trials testing the benefits and risks of PFO closure. These trials include: GORE HELEXTM Septal Occluder for Patent Foramen Ovale Closure in Stroke Patients (Gore REDUCE) in the United States
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