AIMS: Despite the widespread use of percutaneous closure of patent foramen ovale (PFO) in patients after a cryptogenic stroke, little is known about its impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The aim of this study was to assess HRQoL in these patients compared to PFO patients not considered candidates for percutaneous closure, and to a normal population.
METHODS AND RESULTS: A total of 402 patients with cryptogenic stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) who had been referred to our center for PFO closure were invited to a long-term clinical follow-up (mean follow-up 5.5 years; range 3-13 years). HRQoL was assessed using the SF-36 Health Survey and data were compared with an age- and gender-matched reference group from the Swedish SF-36 normative database. Fifteen patients had died and 43 did not answer the SF-36. Of the remaining 344 patients, 208 had undergone PFO closure, and 136 had not. The closure group and reference group reported similar HRQoL levels. However, the non-closure group showed significantly lower HRQoL in role limitation - physical, vitality, general health, mental health (p < 0.05) and social functioning (p = 0.05) than the reference group and also had significantly lower scores than the closure group, correcting for age differences, on physical functioning, role limitation - physical, vitality and general health (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Non-closure patients had lower HRQoL than their counterparts in the normal population and the closure group. Percutaneous PFO closure is associated with a favorable quality of life.