Left Atrial Appendage Closure Versus Direct Oral Anticoagulants in High-Risk Patients With Atrial Fibrillation

Percutaneous left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) is noninferior to vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) for preventing atrial fibrillation (AF)–related stroke. However, direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have an improved safety profile over VKAs, and their effect on cardiovascular and neurological outcomes relative to LAAC is unknown..

A high-risk patient cohort (CHA2DS2-VASc: 4.7 ± 1.5) was randomized to receive LAAC (n = 201) or DOAC (n = 201). LAAC was successful in 181 of 201 (90.0%) patients. In the DOAC group, apixaban was most frequently used (192 of 201; 95.5%). At a median 19.9 months of follow-up, the annual rates of the primary outcome were 10.99% with LAAC and 13.42% with DOAC (subdistribution hazard ratio [sHR]: 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.53 to 1.31; p = 0.44; p = 0.004 for noninferiority).

There were no differences between groups for the components of the composite endpoint: all-stroke/TIA (sHR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.40 to 2.51), clinically significant bleeding (sHR: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.44 to 1.52), and cardiovascular death (sHR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.34 to 1.62). Major LAAC-related complications occurred in 9 (4.5%) patients.

Conclusions Among patients at high risk for stroke and increased risk of bleeding, LAAC was noninferior to DOAC in preventing major AF-related cardiovascular, neurological, and bleeding events. (Left Atrial Appendage Closure vs. Novel Anticoagulation Agents in Atrial Fibrillation