Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia in the world, with an estimated prevalence of more than 2.6 million in the US alone. AF involves substantial morbidity and mortality, largely related to a fivefold increase in the risk of stroke. In fact, AF is responsible for at least 20% of all strokes. The great majority of those strokes arise from thrombi that developed in the left atrial appendage, attributed to stasis of blood flow within that particular structure. At least two-thirds of the ischemic cerebrovascular events and half of all vascular events in AF are related to the atrial thrombi.
Percutaneous epicardial suture closure of the LAA may be performed by tightening pre-tied suture loops around the base of the LAA. This technology is being studied.