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      Novel stroke risk reduction in atrial fibrillation: left atrial appendage occlusion with a focus on the Watchman closure device

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          Abstract

          Atrial fibrillation (AF) remains an important clinical problem with severe complications such as stroke, which especially harms those with risk factors as calculated by the CHADS 2 or CHA 2DS 2-VASc. Until now, no therapy has proven 100% effective against AF. Since the left atrial appendage (LAA) is the most prominent nonvalvular AF-related thromboembolic source and (novel) oral anticoagulant [(N)OAC] carries the hazard of bleeding, LAA occlusion may be an alternative, especially in patients who are ineligible for (N)OAC therapy. In this review, we discuss several LAA occlusion techniques with a focus on the Watchman device since this device is the most thoroughly studied device of all.

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          Most cited references 59

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          A comparison of rate control and rhythm control in patients with atrial fibrillation.

          There are two approaches to the treatment of atrial fibrillation: one is cardioversion and treatment with antiarrhythmic drugs to maintain sinus rhythm, and the other is the use of rate-controlling drugs, allowing atrial fibrillation to persist. In both approaches, the use of anticoagulant drugs is recommended. We conducted a randomized, multicenter comparison of these two treatment strategies in patients with atrial fibrillation and a high risk of stroke or death. The primary end point was overall mortality. A total of 4060 patients (mean [+/-SD] age, 69.7+/-9.0 years) were enrolled in the study; 70.8 percent had a history of hypertension, and 38.2 percent had coronary artery disease. Of the 3311 patients with echocardiograms, the left atrium was enlarged in 64.7 percent and left ventricular function was depressed in 26.0 percent. There were 356 deaths among the patients assigned to rhythm-control therapy and 310 deaths among those assigned to rate-control therapy (mortality at five years, 23.8 percent and 21.3 percent, respectively; hazard ratio, 1.15 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.99 to 1.34]; P=0.08). More patients in the rhythm-control group than in the rate-control group were hospitalized, and there were more adverse drug effects in the rhythm-control group as well. In both groups, the majority of strokes occurred after warfarin had been stopped or when the international normalized ratio was subtherapeutic. Management of atrial fibrillation with the rhythm-control strategy offers no survival advantage over the rate-control strategy, and there are potential advantages, such as a lower risk of adverse drug effects, with the rate-control strategy. Anticoagulation should be continued in this group of high-risk patients. Copyright 2002 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            A comparison of rate control and rhythm control in patients with recurrent persistent atrial fibrillation.

            Maintenance of sinus rhythm is the main therapeutic goal in patients with atrial fibrillation. However, recurrences of atrial fibrillation and side effects of antiarrhythmic drugs offset the benefits of sinus rhythm. We hypothesized that ventricular rate control is not inferior to the maintenance of sinus rhythm for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. We randomly assigned 522 patients who had persistent atrial fibrillation after a previous electrical cardioversion to receive treatment aimed at rate control or rhythm control. Patients in the rate-control group received oral anticoagulant drugs and rate-slowing medication. Patients in the rhythm-control group underwent serial cardioversions and received antiarrhythmic drugs and oral anticoagulant drugs. The end point was a composite of death from cardiovascular causes, heart failure, thromboembolic complications, bleeding, implantation of a pacemaker, and severe adverse effects of drugs. After a mean (+/-SD) of 2.3+/-0.6 years, 39 percent of the 266 patients in the rhythm-control group had sinus rhythm, as compared with 10 percent of the 256 patients in the rate-control group. The primary end point occurred in 44 patients (17.2 percent) in the rate-control group and in 60 (22.6 percent) in the rhythm-control group. The 90 percent (two-sided) upper boundary of the absolute difference in the primary end point was 0.4 percent (the prespecified criterion for noninferiority was 10 percent or less). The distribution of the various components of the primary end point was similar in the rate-control and rhythm-control groups. Rate control is not inferior to rhythm control for the prevention of death and morbidity from cardiovascular causes and may be appropriate therapy in patients with a recurrence of persistent atrial fibrillation after electrical cardioversion. Copyright 2002 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Appendage obliteration to reduce stroke in cardiac surgical patients with atrial fibrillation.

              Left atrial appendage obliteration was historically ineffective for the prevention of postoperative stroke in patients with rheumatic atrial fibrillation who underwent operative mitral valvotomy. It is, however, a routine part of modern "curative" operations for nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation, such as the maze and corridor procedures. To assess the potential of left atrial appendage obliteration to prevent stroke in nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation patients, we reviewed previous reports that identified the etiology of atrial fibrillation and evaluated the presence and location of left atrial thrombus by transesophageal echocardiography, autopsy, or operation. Twenty-three separate studies were reviewed, and 446 of 3,504 (13%) rheumatic atrial fibrillation patients, and 222 of 1,288 (17%) nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation patients had a documented left atrial thrombus. Anticoagulation status was variable and not controlled for. Thrombi were localized to, or were present in the left atrial appendage and extended into the left atrial cavity in 254 of 446 (57%) of patients with rheumatic atrial fibrillation. In contrast, 201 of 222 (91%) of nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation-related left atrial thrombi were isolated to, or originated in the left atrial appendage (p < 0.0001). These data suggest that left atrial appendage obliteration is a strategy of potential value for stroke prophylaxis in nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Vasc Health Risk Manag
                Vasc Health Risk Manag
                Vascular Health and Risk Management
                Vascular Health and Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6344
                1178-2048
                2017
                06 March 2017
                : 13
                : 81-90
                Affiliations
                Department of Cardiology, St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, the Netherlands
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Arash Alipour, Department of Cardiology, St. Antonius Hospital, Koekoekslaan 1, 3435 Nieuwegein, the Netherlands, Tel +31 30 609 9111, Fax +31 30 609 2274, Email a.alipour@ 123456antoniusziekenhuis.nl
                Article
                vhrm-13-081
                10.2147/VHRM.S89213
                5345987
                © 2017 Alipour et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Categories
                Review

                Cardiovascular Medicine

                left atrial appendage, atrial fibrillation, ischemic stroke

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