INTRODUCTION: The management of patients with residual right-to-left shunt (rRLS) after percutaneous patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure is debated. The aim of this study was to define the incidence of moderate-to-large rRLS and to report the feasibility, safety and long-term clinical outcome of transcatheter closure of rRLS. METHODS AND RESULTS: From June 2000 to March 2013, 322 subjects underwent percutaneous PFO closure. In 39 patients (12.1%) with moderate-to-large rRLS on transcranial Doppler (TCD) and/or transesophageal echocardiogram a second cardiac catheterization was performed with the aim of completing the closure. A second closure device was implanted in 21 patients (53.8%). In the remaining 18 (46.2%), a second device was not delivered for the following reasons: in 13 (72.2%) no residual passage could be crossed, in 5 (27.8%) the residual shunt was deemed to be negligible. No complications occurred. After the second procedure, complete closure was proved by TCD in 16/21 (76.2%) subjects. One patient received a third device. During follow-up (41 ± 19 months), no cerebrovascular ischemic accidents occurred. CONCLUSION: A second percutaneous PFO occlusion device can be safely implanted in patients with significant rRLS. However, a moderate-to-large rRLS on TCD and/or TEE may not necessarily represent a significant risk of further paradoxical embolization.
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