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Direct current cardioversion practices following percutaneous left atrial appendage closure.

INTRODUCTION: Among patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) and percutaneous left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) undergoing direct current cardioversion (DCCV), the need for and use of LAA imaging and oral anticoagulation (OAC) is unclear.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the real-world use of transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) or cardiac computed tomography angiography (CCTA) before DCCV and use of OAC pre- and post-DCCV in patients with AF status post percutaneous LAAC.

METHODS: This retrospective single center study included all patients who underwent DCCV after percutaneous LAAC from 2016 to 2022. Key measures were completion of TEE or CCTA pre-DCCV, OAC use pre- and post-DCCV, incidence of left atrial thrombus (LAT) or device-related thrombus (DRT), incidence of peri-device leak (PDL), and DCCV-related complications (stroke, systemic embolism, device embolization, major bleeding, or death) within 30 days.

RESULTS: A total of 76 patients with AF and LAAC underwent 122 cases of DCCV. LAAC consisted of 47 (62%), 28 (37%), and 1 (1%) case of Watchman 2.5, Watchman FLX, and Lariat, respectively. Among the 122 DCCV cases, 31 (25%) cases were identified as "non-guideline based" due to: (1) no OAC for 3 weeks and no LAA imaging within 48 h before DCCV in 12 (10%) cases, (2) no OAC for 4 weeks following DCCV in 16 (13%) cases, or (3) both in 3 (2%) cases. Among the 70 (57%) cases that underwent TEE or CCTA before DCCV, 16 (23%) cases had a PDL with a mean size of 3.0 ± 1.1 mm, and 4 (6%) cases had a LAT/DRT on TEE resulting in cancellation. There were no DCCV-related complications within 30 days.

DISCUSSION: There is a widely varied practice pattern of TEE, CCTA, and OAC use with DCCV after LAAC, with a 6% rate of LAT/DRT. LAA imaging before DCCV appears prudent in all cases, especially within 1 year of LAAC, to assess for device position, PDL, and LAT/DRT.

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