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11-06-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 12/2019 Open Access

Netherlands Heart Journal 12/2019

Left atrial appendage closure in atrial fibrillation patients with prior major bleeding or ineligible for oral anticoagulation

Netherlands Heart Journal > Uitgave 12/2019
L. I. S. Wintgens, V. M. M. Vorselaars, M. N Klaver, M. J. Swaans, A. Alipour, B. J. W. M. Rensing, M. C. Post, L. V. A. Boersma



Oral anticoagulation (OAC) reduces the ischaemic stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), but in turn leads to an increased risk of adverse bleeding events. Alternatively, left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) using a mechanical device might overcome these bleeding complications. However, evidence regarding LAAC in patients at high bleeding risk is scarce. This study evaluates the clinical features of AF patients with previous bleeding that underwent LAAC.


In this retrospective cohort study patients with previous major bleeding or a bleeding predisposition scheduled for transcatheter LAAC were included. The frequency and type of previous bleeding events and prevalence of bleeding and ischaemic stroke during follow-up were evaluated.


A total of 73 patients (58% male, age 72.1 ± 7.2 years; CHA2DS2-VASc 4.5 [3.0–5.0]; HAS-BLED 4.0 [3.0–4.0]; 46% paroxysmal AF) were included. Previous bleeding occurred from intracranial (n = 50, 69%), gastro-intestinal (n = 13, 18%) or multiple (n = 16, 22%) foci. After OAC discontinuation due to bleeding, 19% suffered subsequent stroke. LAAC was successful in 96% of patients. During a median of almost 3 years’ follow-up recurrent major bleeding occurred in 4 patients (5.5%) despite OAC discontinuation in 93.2%. A total of 6 ischaemic strokes were observed, resulting in an annualised stroke rate of 2.9% compared to a calculated expected stroke rate of 6.7%.


Percutaneous LAAC may provide an alternative strategy to long-term OAC therapy in AF patients with a high bleeding risk. During follow-up, both ischaemic stroke and recurrent bleeding rates were lower than expected based on the CHA2DS2-VASc and HAS-BLED scores respectively.

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Netherlands Heart Journal

Het Netherlands Heart Journal wordt uitgegeven in samenwerking met de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Cardiologie en de Nederlandse Hartstichting. Het tijdschrift is Engelstalig en wordt gratis beschikbaa ...

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