Risk of thromboembolic events after percutaneous left atrial appendage ligation in patients with atrial fibrillation: Long-term results of a multicenter study

Published:August 07, 2019DOI:


      Percutaneous left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion with Lariat has emerged as a viable alternative to oral anticoagulation (OAC) to prevent thromboembolic (TE) events in patients with atrial fibrillation.


      We evaluated the long-term TE risk in post-Lariat patients.


      Consecutive patients undergoing LAA ligation with the Lariat device at multiple centers with at least 1-year follow-up were included in the analysis. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) was performed at 4 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months to assess the completeness of LAA occlusion. OAC was discontinued if 4-week TEE revealed no device-related thrombus and complete closure of the appendage. Patients remained on 81 mg of aspirin per day after discontinuation of the blood thinner.


      A total of 306 patients were included in the study (mean age 68.8 ± 11.0 years; mean CHA2DS2-VASc score 3.6 ± 1.7). Four-week TEE revealed leaks in 81 patients (26.5%); all leaks were less than 5 mm in diameter. At 6-month TEE, spontaneous closure of the leak was demonstrated in 21 patients (25.9%), 26 patients (32%) underwent a successful leak closure procedure, and the remaining 34 (42%) patients were placed on OAC. At the median follow-up period of 15.9 ± 9.2 months, 9 TE events (2.9%) were reported: 7 with persistent leak and 2 without any detectable leaks on 2-dimensional TEE (P < .001).


      Complete occlusion of the LAA with the Lariat device was associated with the low rate of TE events at long-term follow-up. However, residual leaks were common after Lariat closure and the stroke rate was significantly higher in patients with incomplete occlusion, even with small leaks.


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