Stroke is the most feared complication of atrial fibrillation (AF). Targeting the left atrial appendage (LAA) mechanically is attractive as a means to simultaneously reduce stroke risk, the need for anticoagulation, and hemorrhagic complications in patients with non-valvular AF. The results of the PROTECT-AF and PREVAIL randomized clinical trials support this approach as a viable therapeutic alternative to warfarin in selected patients and add to accumulating evidence regarding the importance of the LAA in thromboembolism in AF. A number of devices for percutaneous LAA closure are under investigation or development. In this article, key design features of these ligation and exclusion technologies will be discussed, with a focus on aspects of LAA morphology, relational anatomy, thrombosis, and thromboembolism relevant for successful device development and deployment.
Credits: Faisal F. Syed B.Sc. M.B.Ch.B., M.R.C.P.; Amit Noheria M.B.B.S.; Christopher V. DeSimone M.D., Ph.D.; Samuel J. Asirvatham M.D.