Left atrial appendage: An underrecognized trigger site of atrial fibrillation

Luigi Di Biase, J. David Burkhardt, Prasant Mohanty, Javier Sanchez, Sanghamitra Mohanty, Rodney Horton, G. Joseph Gallinghouse, Shane M. Bailey, Jason D. Zagrodzky, Pasquale Santangeli, Steven Hao, Richard Hongo, Salwa Beheiry, Sakis Themistoclakis, Aldo Bonso, Antonio Rossillo, Andrea Corrado, Antonio Raviele, Amin Al-Ahmad, Paul WangJennifer E. Cummings, Robert A. Schweikert, Gemma Pelargonio, Antonio Dello Russo, Michela Casella, Pietro Santarelli, William R. Lewis, Andrea Natale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

422 Scopus citations


Background-: Together with pulmonary veins, many extrapulmonary vein areas may be the source of initiation and maintenance of atrial fibrillation. The left atrial appendage (LAA) is an underestimated site of initiation of atrial fibrillation. Here, we report the prevalence of triggers from the LAA and the best strategy for successful ablation. Methods and results-: Nine hundred eighty-seven consecutive patients (29% paroxysmal, 71% nonparoxysmal) undergoing redo catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation were enrolled. Two hundred sixty-six patients (27%) showed firing from the LAA and became the study population. In 86 of 987 patients (8.7%; 5 paroxysmal, 81 nonparoxysmal), the LAA was found to be the only source of arrhythmia with no pulmonary veins or other extrapulmonary vein site reconnection. Ablation was performed either with focal lesion (n=56; group 2) or to achieve LAA isolation by placement of the circular catheter at the ostium of the LAA guided by intracardiac echocardiography (167 patients; group 3). In the remaining patients, LAA firing was not ablated (n=43; group 1). At the 12±3-month follow-up, 32 patients (74%) in group 1 had recurrence compared with 38 (68%) in group 2 and 25 (15%) in group 3 (P<0.001). Conclusions-: The LAA appears to be responsible for arrhythmias in 27% of patients presenting for repeat procedures. Isolation of the LAA could achieve freedom from atrial fibrillation in patients presenting for a repeat procedure when arrhythmias initiating from this structure are demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 13 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrial appendage
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Catheter ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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