Reduced Incidence of Thromboembolic Events After Surgical Closure of Left Atrial Appendage in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation


Objective: Most of the detected thrombi in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) can be found in the left atrial appendage (LAA). Interventional LAA closure recently proved to be noninferior to warfarin therapy. Whether these results can be fully translated into surgical LAA closure remains unclear. Corresponding data are still lacking. The present observational study evaluated the impact of surgical LAA closure in patients with AF undergoing cardiac surgery on postoperative thromboembolic events. Methods: A prospective registry enrolled 398 patients with permanent AF undergoing cardiac surgery. Concomitant procedures were isolated surgical ablation (group I, n = 71), isolated LAA closure (group II, n = 44), and combined surgical ablation and LAA closure (group III, n = 196). The control group consisted of 87 patients without concomitant surgical ablation or LAA closure. One-year follow-up was completed in all patients. End points were thromboembolic events and death from any cause. Results: Clinical baseline characteristics were comparable among the groups. General hospital mortality was 5.5% and likewise differed not significantly. Postoperatively, mean (SD) CHAD2S2-VASc score of 3.5 (1.3) differed not significantly among the groups, indicating comparable thromboembolic risk. Follow-up referred to all hospital survivors (n = 376). Herein, overall incidence of thromboembolic events was 9.8% (n = 37), with an associated mortality of 41.0%. Patients with LAA closure alone or in combination with surgical ablation had a significantly reduced incidence of thromboembolic events (6.6% vs 20.5%, P < 0.01) and consecutively improved survival after 1 year of follow-up (7.0% vs 17.1%, P < 0.01). Conclusions: Left atrial appendage closure alone or in combination with surgical ablation was associated with a significantly reduced rate of thromboembolic events and consecutively improved survival after 1 year of follow-up.
QR Code: Link to publication