Atrial fibrillation (AF) remains the most common arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice. One of its more common deleterious effects is the development of thromboembolism leading to stroke. The left atrial appendage (LAA) has been shown to the site of the majority of thrombus formation leading to stroke. Anticoagulation with warfarin has been the treatment of choice for prevention of embolic events. Newer anticoagulants have been developed but they still have the potential side effect of causing major bleeding. Occlusion of the LAA has emerged as an alternative therapeutic approach to medical therapy. The aim of this article is to discuss in detail the role of the LAA in thromboembolism in AF, role of device and surgical therapies, and the current clinical data supporting their use. This is particularly timely in that there is now an approved LAA closure device approved in the US for stroke prevention in patients with nonvalvular AF.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine