The Fragility Index in Randomized Controlled Trials for Patent Foramen Ovale Closure in Cryptogenic Stroke

Topcuoglu M. A., Arsava E. M.

JOURNAL OF STROKE & CEREBROVASCULAR DISEASES, vol.28, no.6, pp.1636-1639, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 28 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2019.02.029
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1636-1639
  • Keywords: Stroke, ESUS, idiopathic, paradoxical embolism, PFO, closure device, MEDICAL THERAPY, UPDATED METAANALYSIS, ISCHEMIC-STROKE
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Background and Purpose: The routine use of percutaneous transcatheter patent foramen ovale closure (PPFOC) to prevent recurrent stroke in patients with cryptogenic stroke is still a matter of debate after completion major randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Methods: The fragility index of RCTs evaluating effect of PPFOC against medial therapy alone in stroke prevention was calculated to assess the robustness of statistically significant findings. Results: Literature search with PubMed identifies 6 RCTs on PPFOC. Median number of patients who underwent PPFOC and medical treatment were 340 and 229, respectively. Median number of the patients lost to follow-up was 20 in PPFOC and 18 in medical group. Fragility index was 0 for 4 studies. Median fragility index was also 0 for both "stroke" (interquartile range: 0-5.3) and "combined stroke and TIA" (interquartile range: 0-2) endpoints. In all studies except CLOSE, fragility index was smaller than or equal to the number of the subjects lost to follow-up. Conclusions: Recent positive results of PFO closure studies should be interpreted cautiously because of their fragile characteristics. Routine PFO closure should be reserved for prevention of recurrence when suspicion for paradoxical embolism is high. Detailed individualized decision-making is crucial before ordering PPFOC for stroke prevention in patients with cryptogenic embolism.