Osmancik P, Herman D, Neuzil P, et al. 4-Year Outcomes After Left Atrial Appendage Closure Versus Nonwarfarin Oral Anticoagulation for Atrial Fibrillation. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Jan 4;79(1):1-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.10.023. Epub 2021 Nov 5.

BACKGROUND: The PRAGUE-17 (Left Atrial Appendage Closure vs Novel Anticoagulation Agents in Atrial Fibrillation) trial demonstrated that left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) was noninferior to nonwarfarin direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) for preventing major neurological, cardiovascular, or bleeding events in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) who were at high risk.

OBJECTIVES: This study sought to assess the prespecified long-term (4-year) outcomes in PRAGUE-17.

METHODS: PRAGUE-17 was a randomized noninferiority trial comparing percutaneous LAAC (Watchman or Amulet) with DOACs (95% apixaban) in patients with nonvalvular AF and with a history of cardioembolism, clinically-relevant bleeding, or both CHA2DS2-VASc =3 and HASBLED =2. The primary endpoint was a composite of cardioembolic events (stroke, transient ischemic attack, or systemic embolism), cardiovascular death, clinically relevant bleeding, or procedure-/device-related complications (LAAC group only). The primary analysis was modified intention-to-treat.

RESULTS: This study randomized 402 patients with AF (201 per group, age 73.3 ± 7.0 years, 65.7% male, CHA2DS2-VASc 4.7 ±1.5, HASBLED 3.1 ± 0.9). After 3.5 years median follow-up (1,354 patient-years), LAAC was noninferior to DOACs for the primary endpoint by modified intention-to-treat (subdistribution HR [sHR]: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.56-1.18; P = 0.27; P for noninferiority = 0.006). For the components of the composite endpoint, the corresponding sHRs were 0.68 (95% CI: 0.39-1.20; P = 0.19) for cardiovascular death, 1.14 (95% CI: 0.56-2.30; P = 0.72) for all-stroke/transient ischemic attack, 0.75 (95% CI: 0.44-1.27; P = 0.28) for clinically relevant bleeding, and 0.55 (95% CI: 0.31-0.97; P = 0.039) for nonprocedural clinically relevant bleeding. The primary endpoint outcomes were similar in the per-protocol (sHR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.54-1.18; P = 0.25) and on-treatment (sHR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.56-1.20; P = 0.30) analyses.

CONCLUSIONS: In long-term follow-up of PRAGUE-17, LAAC remains noninferior to DOACs for preventing major cardiovascular, neurological, or bleeding events. Furthermore, nonprocedural bleeding was significantly reduced with LAAC. (PRAGUE-17 [Left Atrial Appendage Closure vs Novel Anticoagulation Agents in Atrial Fibrillation]; NCT02426944).

Ratings by Clinicians (at least 3 per Specialty)
Specialty Score
Internal Medicine
Surgery - Cardiac
Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP)
General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)
Hemostasis and Thrombosis
Comments from MORE raters

Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP) rater

As a family medicine physician, I lean on my cardiology specialists to guide my patients in the best treatment option. Based on this study, many patients on long-term anticoagulation may wish to consult with a cardiologist to decide on the best long-term treatment for their atrial fibrillation.

Internal Medicine rater

This is an interesting and beneficial study from the standpoint of medical practice for peripheral artery disease. I am very interested in the dosing of rivaroxaban. Could more doses or one 30mg per day yield different results? Twice per day may decrease adherence in real-life situations.