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Transcatheter occlusion of the left atrial appendage for stroke prevention.

Patients with atrial fibrillation are at an increased risk of having a cardioembolic stroke. Most of the thrombi responsible for these ischemic events originate in the left atrial appendage. Percutaneous occlusion of the left atrial appendage is a new approach to stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation and contraindication for long-term warfarin treatment. Three different devices have been used so far: the PLAATO system, the WATCHMAN filter system and the Amplatzer septal occluder. Left atrial appendage occlusion using these devices is feasible and safe and has shown promising results. The risk of stroke in atrial fibrillation patients appears to be reduced.

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