Clinical impact of left atrial appendage filling defects in patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve implantation

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2022 Sep 10;23(10):1354-1364. doi: 10.1093/ehjci/jeab142.


Aims: Incidental detection of left atrial appendage (LAA) filling defects is a common finding on multi-detector computed tomography in aortic stenosis patients under evaluation for transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). We aimed to investigate the incidence of LAA filling defects before TAVI and its impact on clinical outcomes.

Methods and results: In a prospective registry, LAA filling defects were retrospectively evaluated and categorized into one of four sub-types: thrombus-like, heterogeneous, horizontal, and Hounsfield Unit (HU)-run-off. The primary endpoint was the composite of cardiovascular death or disabling stroke up to 1-year follow-up. Among 1621 patients undergoing TAVI between August 2007 and June 2018, LAA filling defects were present in 177 patients (11%), and categorized as thrombus-like in 22 (1.4%), heterogeneous in 37 (2.3%), horizontal in 80 (4.9%), and HU-run-off in 38 (2.4%). Compared to patients with normal LAA filling, patients with LAA filling defects had greater prevalence of atrial fibrillation (84.7% vs. 26.4%, P < 0.001) and history of cerebrovascular events (16.4% vs. 10.9%, P = 0.045). The primary endpoint occurred in 131 patients (9.2%) with normal LAA filling and in 36 patients (21.2%) with LAA filling defects (P < 0.001). Subgroup analysis suggested that the risk of disabling stroke was greatest in the thrombus-like pattern (23.0%), followed by the HU-run-off (8.0%), the heterogeneous (6.2%), and the horizontal pattern (1.2%).

Conclusion: LAA filling defects were observed in 11% of aortic stenosis patients undergoing TAVI and associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death and disabling stroke up to 1 year following TAVI.

Trial registration: NCT01368250.

Keywords: aortic valve; atria; atrial appendage thrombus; defect; implantation; l fibrillation; left; left atrial appendage filling; replacement; stroke; transcatheter; transcatheter aortic valve.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Valve Stenosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis* / surgery
  • Atrial Appendage* / diagnostic imaging
  • Atrial Appendage* / surgery
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke* / epidemiology
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement* / adverse effects

Associated data