Left atrial appendage isolation in atrial fibrillation catheter ablation: A meta‐analysis
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A significant proportion of patients' experience recurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF) despite pulmonary venous isolation (PVI), especially those with persistent AF. Isolation of the left atrial appendage (LAA) may reduce AF recurrence. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of LAA isolation in addition to PVI compared with PVI alone. We conducted a comprehensive search of electronic databases, up to April 21st, 2017, for all studies comparing the effect LAA electrical isolation or ligation in addition to PVI, as opposed to PVI alone, on the recurrence of atrial fibrillation after catheter ablation. We used random-effects meta-analysis models to summarize the studies. One RCT and four observational studies enrolling 781 patients were retained. Four studies assessed the added effect of LAA catheter ablation, and one study evaluated the effect of LAA ligation with the aim of LAA electrical isolation. Four studies exclusively enrolled patients with persistent atrial fibrillation and one study predominantly enrolled patients with persistent atrial fibrillation. Follow-up ranged from 12 to 15 months. The addition of LAA isolation to PVI reduced AF recurrence compared with the latter alone (odds ratio (OR) = 0.19; 95% confidence intervals (CI) = 0.10-0.37; P < 0.00001). Left atrial appendage isolation was also associated with a reduction in AF recurrence after repeat ablation (OR = 0.40; CI = 0.25-0.65; P = 0.0003). The addition of LAA isolation to PVI was associated with a decrease in AF recurrence in patients with persistent AF. Further studies are needed to assess the effect on long-term risk of stroke.