Common Heart Condition Can Lead to Stroke
Clinical Trial Will Determine Best Way to Reduce Risk
One of the most common heart defects in the adult population is patent foramen ovale (PFO) — a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart. The hole exists normally in developing infants and usually closes soon after birth. But a residual opening remains in about 25 percent of adults.
“Most PFOs are small,” said Michael Cinquegrani, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin cardiologist. “However, people who have larger holes have a greater risk of blood clots going from one side of the heart to the other, which can result in a stroke.
”Stroke patients who have PFOs may reduce their risk of a second stroke by taking medicines to prevent blood clots. Another option is to close the PFO using a simple catheter procedure. Which therapy is more effective? The RESPECT trial — a clinical study taking place at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin and other centers — may soon provide an answer.
Patients in this trial are randomly assigned to drug therapy or closure. The closure procedure uses a device called an occluder that consists of two collapsible wire disks. The collapsed occluder is inserted into a vein and guided by catheter to the patient’s heart. Once the device is in position, the disks fold out and then pull together to sandwich the PFO closed.
Dr. Cinquegrani emphasized that not all patients with PFOs need treatment — only those who have already suffered a stroke. Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin are the second largest enrolling center for the RESPECT trial in the nation.
Source: Froedtert Today
Date: May 2010
Online Editor(s): Robin Schultz