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Use of left atrial appendage occlusion among older cardiac surgery patients with preoperative atrial fibrillation: a national cohort study

Journal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology
Daniel J. Friedman, Jeffrey G. Gaca, Tongrong Wang, S. Chris Malaisrie, David R. Holmes, Jonathan P. Piccini, Rakesh M. Suri, Michael J. Mack, Vinay Badhwar, Jeffrey P. Jacobs, Eric D. Peterson, Shein-Chung Chow, J. Matthew Brennan
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Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) undergoing cardiac surgery are at substantially increased risk for stroke. Increasing evidence has suggested that surgical left atrial appendage occlusion (S-LAAO) may have the potential to substantially mitigate this stroke risk; however, S-LAAO is performed in a minority of patients with AF undergoing cardiac surgery. We sought to identify factors associated with usage of S-LAAO.


In a nationally-representative, contemporary cohort (07/2011–06/2012) of older patients undergoing cardiac surgery with preoperative AF (n = 11,404) from the Medicare-linked Society of Thoracic Surgeons Adult Cardiac Surgery Database, we evaluated patient and hospital characteristics associated with S-LAAO use by employing logistic and linear regression models.


In this cohort (average age, 76 years; 39% female), 4177 (37%) underwent S-LAAO. Neither S-LAAO nor discharge anticoagulation was used in 25% (“unprotected” patients). The overall propensity for S-LAAO decreased significantly with increasing CHA2DS2-VASc (congestive heart failure; hypertension; age 75 years or older; diabetes mellitus; stroke, transient ischemic attack, or thromboembolism; vascular disease; age 65 to 74 years; sex category (female)) score (ptrend < 0.001). There was substantial variability in S-LAAO use across geographic regions, and S-LAAO was more commonly performed at academic and higher-volume valve surgery centers.


Substantial variability in use of S-LAAO exists. In many instances, the procedure is being deferred in the patients that may be poised to benefit the most (i.e., those with increased CHA2DS2-VASc score-defined stroke risk).

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