Sometimes they come back: recurrent noncardiac right-to-left shunt after percutaneous patent foramen ovale closure
An increasing number of patients are being evaluated for percutaneous patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure to prevent recurrent cerebrovascular events, but debate still exists on therapeutic indications and off-label closure device implantation. Pulmonary arteriovenous fistulas (PAVFs) are a rare and heterogeneous malformation prevalently associated with Rendu–Osler–Weber syndrome, and may mimic PFO right-to-left shunt (RLS), leading to unnecessary interventions and in some cases to relapses. Residual shunt is increasingly being observed both after PFO closure and PAVF embolization, even at long-term follow-up, with unclear clinical relevance. This instrumental and possibly therapeutic failure could lie in the presence of pulmonary microfistulas, either pre-existing or following the intervention. Hence, if RLS persists after optimal device placement and reasonable endothelialization time, the presence of a PAVF should be assumed and investigated; if RLS recurs after previous, negative echocontrast studies, presence of device-related complications or pulmonary microfistulas should be taken into consideration.