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01-04-2012 | Original article | Uitgave 4/2012

Netherlands Heart Journal 4/2012

Percutaneous left atrial appendage closure for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation

Netherlands Heart Journal > Uitgave 4/2012
M. J. Swaans, M. C. Post, B. J. W. M. Rensing, L. V. A. Boersma



Percutaneous left atrial appendage (LAA) closure can be an alternative to coumadin treatment in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) at high risk for thromboembolic events and/or bleeding complications. We report the initial experience with this new technique.


Patients were eligible if they had AF with a high stroke risk (CHADS2 score >1), and/or contraindication for coumadin therapy. The procedure was performed under general anaesthesia, using biplane fluoroscopy and (3D) transoesophageal echocardiography (TEE) guidance. Patients were discharged on coumadin until a TEE was repeated at 45 days after closure to evaluate LAA occlusion. If LAA occlusion was achieved, oral anticoagulation was discontinued and aspirin started.


Percutaneous LAA closure was performed in 10 patients (50% male, age 61.6 ± 9.6 years). The median CHADS2 score was 3 (range 2–4), median CHA2DS2-VASc score 3.5 (range 2–6) and HAS-BLED score 1.5 (range 1–4). Nine patients had a history of stroke and 2 patients had a history of major bleeding while on coumadin. Concomitant pulmonary vein isolation was performed in 9 patients. The device was successfully placed in all patients within a median of 56 min (38–137 min). Asymptomatic catheter thrombus occurred in one patient. At 45-day follow-up, no thromboembolic events occurred, TEE showed minimal residual flow in the LAA in three patients. In one patient the LAA device was dislocated, requiring successful percutaneous retrieval.


Device closure of the LAA may provide an alternative strategy to chronic coumadin therapy in patients with AF and high risk of stroke and/or bleeding complications using coumadin.

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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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