The PHRI trial that confirmed left atrial appendage occlusion (LAAO) decreases stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation has been named by multiple experts as a major advance in 2021.

Cardiology Today asked members of its Editorial Board to pick top stories in the field for 2021, and the results included:

Among developments not related to COVID-19, the most important included the results of the LAAOS III trial, which found that among patients with AF who underwent cardiac surgery, concomitant closure of the left atrial appendage reduced risk for ischemic stroke and systemic embolism…”

  • Matthew W. Martinez, MD, Morristown Medical Center

Writing for Medscape, John Mandrola’s Top 10 Cardiology Stories of 2021 included:

LAAOS III gets my vote as the most important trial of the year. The benefits were clinically significant and statistically robust. When our patients with atrial fibrillation go for heart surgery, the surgeon should close their appendage according to techniques used in LAAOS III – which mostly entailed excision and primary closure.

Also in Medscape, Mike Gibson and Robert Harrington discussed the Top Cardiology Trials of 221. Here is an excerpt:

Harrington: LAAOS III, the left atrial appendage occlusion trial – Wow, that that was a clever design, well designed, well powered.
Gibson: Closing off that left atrial appendage at the time of surgery reduced the risk for embolic events by one third… I think it is important. I think it probably should change practice.

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