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The left atrial appendage closure by surgery-2 (LAACS-2) trial protocol rationale and design of a randomized multicenter trial investigating if left atrial appendage closure prevents stroke in patients undergoing open-heart surgery irrespective of preoperative atrial fibrillation status and stroke risk.

BACKGROUND: Current recommendations regarding the use of surgical left atrial appendage (LAA) closure to prevent thromboembolisms lack high-level evidence. Patients undergoing open-heart surgery often have several cardiovascular risk factors and a high occurrence of postoperative atrial fibrillation (AF)-with a high recurrence rate-and are thus at a high risk of stroke. Therefore, we hypothesized that concomitant LAA closure during open-heart surgery will reduce mid-term risk of stroke independently of preoperative AF status and CHA2 DS2 -VASc score.

METHODS: This protocol describes a randomized multicenter trial. Consecutive participants ≥18 years scheduled for first-time planned open-heart surgery from cardiac surgery centers in Denmark, Spain, and Sweden are included. Both patients with a previous diagnosis of paroxysmal or chronic AF, as well as those without AF, are eligible to participate, irrespective of their CHA2 DS2 -VASc score. Patients already planned for ablation or LAA closure during surgery, with current endocarditis, or where follow-up is not possible are considered noneligible. Patients are stratified by site, surgery type, and preoperative or planned oral anticoagulation treatment. Subsequently, patients are randomized 1:1 to either concomitant LAA closure or standard care (ie, open LAA). The primary outcome is stroke, including transient ischemic attack, as assigned by 2 independent neurologists blinded to the treatment allocation. To recognize a 60% relative risk reduction of the primary outcome with LAA closure, 1,500 patients are randomized and followed for 2 years (significance level of 0.05 and power of 90%).

CONCLUSIONS: The LAACS-2 trial is likely to impact the LAA closure approach in most patients undergoing open-heart surgery.


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