OBJECTIVES: To evaluate patient selection, safety, feasibility, and midterm results of percutaneous left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion.
BACKGROUND: Oral anticoagulants (OAC) are the gold standard for stroke prevention in most patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). As the LAA is the main source of AF-related thrombi, LAA occlusion might reduce the thromboembolic (TE) risk. Recently, LAA closure was implemented in the European Society of Cardiology guidelines for the management of AF.
METHODS: This retrospective single center study examined all LAA percutaneous closures (September 2003-September 2011).
RESULTS: Twenty-five patients were included in the study; median age at closure was 73 years (minimum maximum range 49-85 years), 68% men. Median CHA2DS2-VASc score and HAS-BLED score were 5 (IQR 4-6) and 4 (IQR 4-5), respectively. Most frequent reason for LAA closure was intracranial hemorrhage during OAC treatment (52%). Successful device implantation was achieved in 96%. During a follow-up of 60.6 patient years, the TE stroke event rate was 4.95 per 100 patient years, versus an expected rate of 8.78 and 2.90 without and with OAC, respectively. No peripheral embolism occurred. Major procedure-related adverse events occurred in two patients. CONCLUSIONS: Percutaneous closure of the LAA is feasible and safe. Intracranial hemorrhage was the most important indication for LAA closure. A low number of TE stroke events occurred during follow-up. LAA closure might be a good alternative in patients with a firm contraindication for OAC.