Innovations (Phila). 2016 Aug 26. [Epub ahead of print]
OBJECTIVE: Conventional epicardial excision is believed to be the most effective method of surgically obliterating the left atrial appendage (LAA), although incomplete resection and residual LAA volume may undermine its effectiveness. We sought to compare the impact of conventional epicardial excision with a novel LAA pericardial patch exclusion on residual LAA volume.
METHODS: We performed LAA obliteration using pericardial patch exclusion, followed by conventional epicardial excision, in 27 cadaveric hearts. After each procedure, residual LAA volume was measured by two different techniques and compared with baseline volume. There was no difference in baseline LAA volume between each procedure.
RESULTS: Procedural success was achieved in all hearts. Conventional epicardial excision left a residual LAA volume of 0.95 mL (24%), as compared with pericardial patch exclusion, which left a residual volume of 0.17 mL (4%, P = 0.0001). Further analysis of fixed and fresh hearts showed that reduction of LAA volume was more pronounced in the fresh hearts, suggesting effectiveness in live patients. Neither technique resulted in any significant change in the endocardial shape of the LAA orifice or injury to the circumflex artery.
CONCLUSIONS: Conventional epicardial excision of the LAA results in significantly more residual LAA volume, which may have important implications in persistent stroke risk. Pericardial patch exclusion seems to achieve near-total elimination of the LAA and may be a superior surgical option.