Study questions catheter procedure


March 14, 2012 1:19:42 PM PDT
The study in the New England Journal of Medicine questions the use of a catheter procedure to close a hole in the heart.

It's done to prevent recurrent strokes in patients with patent foramen ovale (PFO), a hole between chambers of the heart. But the multi-layer study involving 80,000 patients finds the expensive and invasive procedure was no better in preventing strokes than taking blood thinners such as Aspirin or Warfarin.

The lead investigator says the message here is that too many of these holes are being closed with an off-label procedure. The study suggests more research into the value of these closures is needed.