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Importance: Patent foramen ovale (PFO)-associated strokes comprise approximately 10% of ischemic strokes in adults aged 18 to 60 years. While device closure decreases stroke recurrence risk overall, the best treatment for any individual is often unclear. Objective: To evaluate heterogeneity of treatment effect of PFO closure on stroke recurrence based on previously developed scoring systems. Design, Setting, and Participants: Investigators for the Systematic, Collaborative, PFO Closure Evaluation (SCOPE) Consortium pooled individual patient data from all 6 randomized clinical trials that compared PFO closure plus medical therapy vs medical therapy alone in patients with PFO-associated stroke, and included a total of 3740 participants. The trials were conducted worldwide from 2000 to 2017. Exposures: PFO closure plus medical therapy vs medical therapy alone. Subgroup analyses used the Risk of Paradoxical Embolism (RoPE) Score (a 10-point scoring system in which higher scores reflect younger age and the absence of vascular risk factors) and the PFO-Associated Stroke Causal Likelihood (PASCAL) Classification System, which combines the RoPE Score with high-risk PFO features (either an atrial septal aneurysm or a large-sized shunt) to classify patients into 3 categories of causal relatedness: unlikely, possible, and probable. Main Outcomes and Measures: Ischemic stroke. Results: Over a median follow-up of 57 months (IQR, 24-64), 121 outcomes occurred in 3740 patients. The annualized incidence of stroke with medical therapy was 1.09% (95% CI, 0.88%-1.36%) and with device closure was 0.47% (95% CI, 0.35%-0.65%) (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.41 [95% CI, 0.28-0.60]). The subgroup analyses showed statistically significant interaction effects. Patients with low vs high RoPE Score had HRs of 0.61 (95% CI, 0.37-1.00) and 0.21 (95% CI, 0.11-0.42), respectively (P for interaction =.02). Patients classified as unlikely, possible, and probable using the PASCAL Classification System had HRs of 1.14 (95% CI, 0.53-2.46), 0.38 (95% CI, 0.22-0.65), and 0.10 (95% CI, 0.03-0.35), respectively (P for interaction =.003). The 2-year absolute risk reduction was -0.7% (95% CI, -4.0% to 2.6%), 2.1% (95% CI, 0.6%-3.6%), and 2.1% (95% CI, 0.9%-3.4%) in the unlikely, possible, and probable PASCAL categories, respectively. Device-associated adverse events were generally higher among patients classified as unlikely; the absolute risk increases in atrial fibrillation beyond day 45 after randomization with a device were 4.41% (95% CI, 1.02% to 7.80%), 1.53% (95% CI, 0.33% to 2.72%), and 0.65% (95% CI, -0.41% to 1.71%) in the unlikely, possible, and probable PASCAL categories, respectively. Conclusions and Relevance: Among patients aged 18 to 60 years with PFO-associated stroke, risk reduction for recurrent stroke with device closure varied across groups classified by their probabilities that the stroke was causally related to the PFO. Application of this classification system has the potential to guide individualized decision-making..

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Journal article



Publication Date





2277 - 2286