Leaks after Left Atrial Appendage Closure: Ignored or Neglected?

Cardiology. 2021;146(3):384-391. doi: 10.1159/000513901. Epub 2021 Mar 18.


Left atrial appendage (LAA) closure has recently been approved as an alternative management for stroke prevention in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation who have difficulties with long-term oral anticoagulation. The various shapes and sizes of LAA and orientation of the atrial ostium may contribute to the incomplete LAA closure from circular design devices and orientation of the non-steerable delivery catheter. Incomplete closure of LAA leads to a high-velocity blood flow through the peri-device gap, resulting in peri-device leak (PDL). Residual leaks are frequently diagnosed after LAA closure procedures, regardless of closure methods. There is a controversy in the clinical significance of the leaks, particularly about its association with thromboembolic events. PDL <5 mm was not associated with any increase of risk for thromboembolism. Current literatures with small study population have not been sufficient to clarify the role of the leaks after LAA closure. Nevertheless, management of severe leaks has been a challenging concern for cardiologists. Leaks after epicardial LAA closures are at the neck of the incompletely closed LAA and have shown to increase the risk of thromboembolism. Percutaneous closure of the leaks after LAA closure has been attempted with good safety and success, but long-term safety and efficacy remains unclear. Further large long-term studies which aim to assess the role of leaks or PDLs in predicting thromboembolic events and management strategies are warranted.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Leaks; Left atrial appendage closure; Occluders; Peri-device leak; Thromboembolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Appendage* / diagnostic imaging
  • Atrial Appendage* / surgery
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / complications
  • Cardiac Catheterization / adverse effects
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal
  • Humans
  • Stroke* / etiology
  • Stroke* / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome