BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Multiple studies evaluated whether patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure reduces the risk of ischemic stroke. One commonly reported complication of PFO closure is the development of atrial fibrillation (AF), which is itself a powerful stroke risk factor that requires specific management. This study aims to evaluate the frequency of AF in patients post-percutaneous closure of PFO and the clinical factors that predict AF detection.
METHODS: Studies were identified by systematically searching EMBASE and MEDLINE databases on July 11, 2019. Meta-analysis of proportions was performed, assuming a random-effects model.
RESULTS: A total of 6 randomized controlled trials and 26 observational studies were included, comprising 3737 and 9126 patients, respectively. After PFO closure, the rate of AF development was 3.7 patients per 100 patient-years of follow-up (95% CI, 2.6-4.9). The risk of AF development is concentrated in the first 45 days post-procedure (27.2 patients per 100 patient-years [95% CI, 20.1-34.81], compared with 1.3 patients per 100 patient-years [95% CI, 0.3-2.7]) after 45 days. Meta-regression by age suggested that studies with older patients reported higher rate of AF (P=0.001). In medically treated patients, the rate of AF development was 0.1 per 100 patient-years of follow-up (95% CI, 0.0-0.4). Closure of PFO is associated with increased risk of AF compared with medical management (odds ratio, 5.3 [95% CI, 2.5-11.41]; P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: AF is more common in PFO patients who had percutaneous closure compared with those who were medically treated. The risk of AF was higher in the first 45 days post-closure and in studies that included patients with increased age.