Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Patent foramen ovale (PFO), a hole between the left and right atria of the heart, is known to be a cause of stroke in young adults.

Randomised trials have shown that percutaneous closure of PFO is highly effective in preventing recurrent strokes in patients aged ≤60 years. However, it is uncertain whether PFO is a common cause of stroke in older patients and whether trials of PFO-closure at older ages would be feasible.

PFO-screening in over 1000 Oxford Vascular Study patients using transcranial Doppler (TCD) bubble detection was completed in 2018. Bubble-TCD was feasible in older patients with TIA/non-disabling stroke, and there was a strong association between PFO and TIA/stroke of otherwise unknown cause at older ages. These results indicate that randomised trials of PFO-closure are now required at older ages and show that bubble-TCD is a feasible approach to identifying potential recruits. The work also demonstrated the substantial burden of PFO-related stroke at the population-level.

Mazzucco S, Li L, Binney L, Rothwell PM; Oxford Vascular Study Phenotyped Cohort. Prevalence of patent foramen ovale in cryptogenic transient ischaemic attack and non-disabling stroke at older ages. Lancet Neurol 2018;17:609-617.

Similar stories

Unique study of vascular disease reaches 20th anniversary

The only project of its kind anywhere that studies patients with all types of acute vascular events - including strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms - in order to develop better diagnostic tests and treatments celebrates its 20th anniversary this month.

Our researchers test ‘Viagra’ drug to prevent recurrent strokes

Researchers in our Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia have begun a clinical trial to assess whether the drug sildenafil could improve blood flow to the brain.

Masonic Charitable Foundation Fund Studentship at Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia

The charity has provided £126K of funding for one 3-year clinical research fellowship starting in January 2020.

Risk of dementia after TIA or stroke

Risk of dementia after stroke is a major concern for patients and carers. Reliable data on risk of dementia, particularly after TIA or minor stroke, are scarce.

Significant progress made on our new research building

Tuesday 25 September saw the 'topping out' ceremony, with completion on course for next summer

One dose of aspirin doesn't fit all

About one billion people worldwide take regular aspirin, usually to prevent heart attacks or strokes. But a new study suggests a more tailored strategy is required.