Atrial fibrillation (AF), a very common cardiac arrhythmia, is a well-recognized predisposing factor for embolic stroke. While warfarin remains the cornerstone of anticoagulant treatment in patients with AF, it is often underutilized because of increased bleeding complications and frequent monitoring requirements. It has been documented that the left atrial appendage (LAA) is the main source of left atrial thrombus that causes strokes in AF patients. Thus, closure of the LAA may be an effective strategy in stroke reduction. Several devices have been used in closure of the LAA. The WATCHMAN device appears to be a safe and efficacious device for closure of the LAA as recently demonstrated in the PROTECT AF trial.
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