PFO is a common finding, reportedly found in 10% to 15% of patients undergoing contrast echo. In an autopsy series, PFOs were reported of 0.2 to 0.5 cm in 29% of patients and 0.6 to 1.0 cm in 6% of patients. Another study showed an incidence of 27%, with PFOs varying from 1 to 19 mm in size. The incidence declines with age, suggesting that some PFOs may close anatomically even in adulthood. There is no sex nor age predominance. Epidemiological studies in large populations suggest some racial and ethnic differences in incidence, although other studies are unsupporting. Due to increased usage of contrast echo and availability of percutaneous treatment, PFO is increasingly recognised in the overall population, with higher numbers in stroke or TIA patients.
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