Article Text


Patent foramina ovale in elderly stroke patients.
  1. M. A. Vella,
  2. A. N. Sulke,
  3. C. A. Rodrigues,
  4. W. R. McNabb,
  5. R. R. Lewis
  1. Department of Geriatrics and General Medicine, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.


    Fifty elderly patients who had suffered cerebrovascular incidents from no obvious cause and 33 age-matched controls were investigated for the presence of a patent foramen ovale by contrast 2-dimensional echocardiography at rest and after the Valsalva manoeuvre. Right-to-left shunting was found in only one patient and in none of the controls. This finding is in contradistinction to young adult stroke patients in whom the prevalence of a haemodynamically significant patent foramina ovale is high. Paradoxical embolism is an uncommon cause of stroke in the elderly.

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