Clinical Outcomes Associated With Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion Versus Direct Oral Anticoagulation in Atrial Fibrillation

JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2021 Jan 11;14(1):69-78. doi: 10.1016/j.jcin.2020.09.051.


Objectives: This study sought to investigate clinical outcomes associated with left atrial appendage occlusion (LAAO) versus direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) in patients with high-risk atrial fibrillation (AF).

Background: LAAO has been shown to be noninferior to warfarin for stroke prevention in AF. However, anticoagulation with DOACs is now preferred over warfarin as thromboprophylaxis in AF.

Methods: Patients with AF enrolled in the Amulet Observational Registry (n = 1,088) who had successful LAAO with the Amplatzer Amulet device (n = 1,078) were compared with a propensity score-matched control cohort of incident AF patients (n = 1,184) treated by DOACs identified from Danish national patient registries. Propensity score matching was based on the covariates of the CHA2DS2-VASc (congestive heart failure, hypertension, age ≥75 years, diabetes mellitus, prior stroke or transient ischemic attack or thromboembolism, vascular disease, age 65-74 years, sex category) and HAS-BLED (hypertension, abnormal renal or liver function, stroke, bleeding, labile international normalized ratio, elderly, drugs or alcohol) scores for predicting stroke and bleeding. The primary outcome was a composite of ischemic stroke, major bleeding (Bleeding Academic Research Consortium ≥3), or all-cause mortality, and follow-up was 2 years.

Results: AF patients treated with LAAO had a significantly lower risk of the primary composite outcome as compared with patients treated with DOACs (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.49 to 0.67). Total events and event rates per 100 patient-years were (LAAO vs. DOACs) 256 vs. 461 and 14.5 vs. 25.7, respectively. The risk of ischemic stroke was comparable between groups (HR: 1.11; 95% CI: 0.71 to 1.75), while risk of major bleeding (HR: 0.62; 95% CI: 0.49 to 0.79) and all-cause mortality (HR: 0.53; 95% CI: 0.43 to 0.64) were significantly lower in patients treated with LAAO.

Conclusions: Among high-risk AF patients, LAAO in comparison with DOACs may have similar stroke prevention efficacy but lower risk of major bleeding and mortality.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; left atrial appendage occlusion; stroke prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants
  • Atrial Appendage*
  • Atrial Fibrillation*
  • Humans
  • Stroke
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Thromboembolism


  • Anticoagulants