Randomized Trial of Surgical Left Atrial Appendage Closure: Protection Against Cerebrovascular Events

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  • Christoffer V. Madsen
  • Jesper Park-Hansen
  • Susanne J.V. Holme
  • Akhmadjon Irmukhamedov
  • Christian L. Carranza
  • Anders M. Greve
  • Gina Al-Farra
  • Robert G.C. Riis
  • Brian Nilsson
  • Johan S.R. Clausen
  • Anne S. Nørskov
  • Kruuse, Christina Rostrup
  • Truelsen, Thomas Clement
  • Helena Dominguez

Following open-heart surgery, atrial fibrillation and stroke occur frequently. Left atrial appendage closure added to elective open-heart surgery could reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. We aim to examine if routine closure of the left atrial appendage in patients undergoing open-heart surgery provides long-term protection against cerebrovascular events independently of atrial fibrillation history, stroke risk, and oral anticoagulation use. Long-term follow-up of patients enrolled in the prospective, randomized, open-label, blinded evaluation trial entitled left atrial appendage closure by surgery (NCT02378116). Patients were stratified by oral anticoagulation status and randomized (1:1) to left atrial appendage closure in addition to elective open-heart surgery vs standard care. The primary composite endpoint was ischemic stroke events, transient ischemic attacks, and imaging findings of silent cerebral ischemic lesions. Two neurologists blinded for treatment assignment adjudicated cerebrovascular events. In total, 186 patients (82% males) were reviewed. At baseline, mean (standard deviation (SD)) age was 68 (9) years and 13.4% (n = 25/186) had been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Median [interquartile range (IQR)] CHA2DS2-VASc was 3 [2,4] and 25.9% (n = 48/186) were receiving oral anticoagulants. Mean follow-up was 6.2 (2.5) years. The left atrial appendage closure group experienced fewer cerebrovascular events; intention-to-treat 11 vs 19 (P = 0.033, n = 186) and per-protocol 9 vs 17 (P = 0.186, n = 141). Left atrial appendage closure as an add-on open-heart surgery, regardless of pre-surgery atrial fibrillation and oral anticoagulation status, seems safe and may reduce cerebrovascular events in long-term follow-up. More extensive randomized clinical trials investigating left atrial appendage closure in patients without atrial fibrillation and high stroke risk are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSeminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)664-672
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 The Author(s)

    Research areas

  • Atrial fibrillation, Cardiac surgery, Exclusion, Occlusion, Open-heart surgery, Stroke, Transient ischemic attack

ID: 323970972