Impact of left atrial appendage closure during cardiac surgery on the occurrence of early postoperative atrial fibrillation, stroke, and mortality

Rowlens M. Melduni, Hartzell V. Schaff, Hon Chi Lee, Bernard J. Gersh, Peter A. Noseworthy, Kent R. Bailey, Naser M. Ammash, Stephen S. Cha, Kaniz Fatema, Waldemar E. Wysokinski, James B. Seward, Douglas L. Packer, Charanjit S. Rihal, Samuel J. Asirvatham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Background: Prophylactic exclusion of the left atrial appendage (LAA) is often performed during cardiac surgery ostensibly to reduce the risk of stroke. However, the clinical impact of LAA closure in humans remains inconclusive. Methods: Of 10 633 adults who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting and valve surgery between January 2000 and December 2005, 9792 patients with complete baseline characteristics, surgery procedure, and follow-up data were included in this analysis. A propensity score-matching analysis based on 28 pretreatment covariates was performed and 461 matching pairs were derived and analyzed to estimate the association of LAA closure with early postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) (atrial fibrillation ≤30 days of surgery), ischemic stroke, and mortality. Results: In the propensity-matched cohort, the overall incidence of POAF was 53.9%. In this group, the rate of early POAF among the patients who underwent LAA closure was 68.6% versus 31.9% for those who did not undergo the procedure (P<0.001). LAA closure was independently associated with an increased risk of early POAF (adjusted odds ratio, 3.88; 95% confidence interval, 2.89-5.20), but did not significantly influence the risk of stroke (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.07; 95% confidence interval, 0.72-1.58) or mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% confidence interval, 0.75-1.13). Conclusions: After adjustment for treatment allocation bias, LAA closure during routine cardiac surgery was significantly associated with an increased risk of early POAF, but it did not influence the risk of stroke or mortality. It remains uncertain whether prophylactic exclusion of the LAA is warranted for stroke prevention during non-atrial fibrillation-related cardiac surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-378
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 24 2017


  • atrial fibrillation
  • prevention and control
  • stroke
  • survival
  • thoracic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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