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Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2003 Nov;60(3):417-22.

Transcatheter left atrial appendage occlusion with Amplatzer devices to obviate anticoagulation in patients with atrial fibrillation.

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  • 1Cardiology, Swiss Cardiovascular Center Bern, University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland.


It is assumed that over 90% of clinically apparent embolisms in atrial fibrillation originate from the left atrial appendage. Recently, a percutaneous method (PLAATO technique) to occlude the left atrial appendage to the end of preventing thromboembolic complications of atrial fibrillation has been introduced into clinical practice. This technique is quite intricate and requires general anesthesia. The Amplatzer atrial septal occluder lends itself for a more simple approach to this intervention. The first 16 patients treated at four centers are described. Their age varied from 58 to 83 years. All suffered from atrial fibrillation but eight of them were in sinus rhythm at the time of implantation. All but two procedures were done under local anesthesia of the groin only. There was one technical failure (device embolization) requiring surgery. All other patients left the hospital a day after the procedure without complications. There were no problems or embolic events during an overall follow-up of 5 patient-years and all left atrial appendages were completely occluded without evidence of thrombosis at the atrial side of the device at the latest follow-up echocardiography. With the Amplatzer technique, the left atrial appendage can be percutaneously occluded with a venous puncture under local anesthesia, without echocardiographic guidance, and at a reasonable risk. It remains to be evaluated in larger series or randomized trials how the simpler Amplatzer technique compares with the complex PLAATO technique, and whether left atrial appendage closure is competitive with oral anticoagulation with warfarin or the novel ximelagatran to prevent thromboembolism in atrial fibrillation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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