Background: Pharmacologic therapies to prevent stroke in atrial fibrillation (AF) have numerous limitations, prompting the development of device-based therapies. We investigated whether an electrogram-based approach using a novel hollow suture can safely capture and ligate the left atrial appendage (LAA).
Methods and Results: A novel system for closure of the LAA within the confines of the closed pericardium with a single sheath puncture was tested in 4 dogs. The tool used to grasp the appendage was fitted with electrodes and utilized electrical navigation to identify and confirm LAA capture. A hollow suture preloaded with a mechanical support wire to permit its manipulation and fluoroscopic visualization was advanced over the grasper, and the wire removed after the suture was positioned. The LAA was successfully closed in all dogs. In 2 dogs, after closure, a thoracotomy was performed and the LAA amputated without bleeding, confirming closure integrity. Necropsy confirmed closure in all animals.
Conclusions: Using electrical navigation, percutaneous epicardial LAA ligation with a remotely tightened suture was performed successfully within the confines of the intact pericardial space. This technique may allow decreasing the risk of stroke in AF patients without the need for thoracotomy or an endocardially placed prosthetic device.