Significance of the learning curve in left atrial appendage occlusion with two different devices


  • Conflict of interest: Nothing to report.



To evaluate the impact of learning on outcome with use of two different left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion devices.


Two self-expanding devices, the Watchman and the Amplatzer Cardiac Plug (ACP), have been used for LAA occlusion in the last few years. It has been demonstrated that complications associated with implantation decrease in frequency with operator experience. However, the role of operator experience has not been compared across the two device types.


The study comprises 31 consecutive patients who underwent LAA occlusion. We compare the first 10 patients in whom an ACP was implanted with the subsequent eleven patients who underwent ACP implantation and with 10 cases where a Watcthman device was implanted. The composite safety end point comprised procedure-related events and excessive bleeding events. We also performed 3 months echocardiographic and clinical follow-up.


There were not significant differences in the basal clinical and echocardiographical characteristics across the three groups. Cardiac complications only occurred in the ACP initial experience group (9% vs. 0% vs. 0% P = 0.04). Echocardiographic and clinical follow-up at 3 months was completed in all patients. No significant residual leak was detected. One patient in the ACP initial experience group developed a thrombus on the device. One patient in ACP late experience presented an ischemic stroke.


Complications associated with LAA occlusion cluster early in the peri-procedural period and significantly decrease in frequency with operator experience. Initial experience gained with one of device may improve outcome with use of alternative LAA occlusion devices. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.