High Frequency of Silent Pulmonary Embolism in Patients With Cryptogenic Stroke and Patent Foramen Ovale
Background and Purpose—Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (PE) prove venous embolic activity and enforce the suspicion of paradoxical embolism in patients with stroke with patent foramen ovale. Because it has implications in secondary prevention, we investigated the frequency of silent PE in such a cohort of patients.
Methods—Patients with cryptogenic stroke or transient ischemic attack and patent foramen ovale who underwent a ventilation perfusion scintigraphy were identified from a stroke registry. Blinded from clinical data, ventilation perfusion scintigraphy scans were re-evaluated independently by 2 experts. Patients showing at least a subsegmental defect were considered as having silent PE. Factors potentially associated with PE were analyzed.
Results—The evaluation included 151 patients. Median age was 55.2 years and 59.9% were male. In 56 (37%) patients, silent PE was found; a deep vein thrombosis was evident in 11 (7%) patients. Atrial septal aneurysm was identified in 39 patients and hypermobile atrial septum in 37 patients. Atrial septal aneurysm and hypermobile atrial septum were independently associated with PE. In females, intake of oral contraceptives showed certain association with PE (6 of 25 versus 3 of 40; P=0.07).
Conclusions—Silent PE frequently occurs in patients with cryptogenic stroke and patent foramen ovale, particularly when atrial septal aneurysm or hypermobile atrial septum are present.
- Received September 1, 2010.
- Revision received October 24, 2010.
- Accepted October 26, 2010.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.