Left atrial appendage occlusion is approved as an indicated therapy for patients with non valvular atrial fibrillation, high risk of stroke and an appropriate rationale for avoidance of long term use of oral anticoagulants.
Concurrent procedural TEE is an integral part of the procedure. It is used to guide trans-septal puncture, device sizing and assessment of final adequacy of device implant.
TEE requires the participation and guidance of a cardiac imager and because the TEE probe is in place for a relatively long duration the procedure, the procedure is most commonly performed under general anesthesia. Furthermore TEE can be associated with risk of injury to the oropharynx and esophagus. Our ongoing clinical experience and known literature suggest that TEE may not be necessary for the overall success of the procedure. The objective of the study is to investigate a new work flow that may ultimately demonstrate that intra-procedural TEE may not be necessary, obviating the need for additional personnel, general anesthesia and decreasing overall risk. ICE has been widely used to aid trans-septal puncture and visualize left atrial anatomy. Smaller studies and case series have reported the use of ICE as an alternative to TEE in guiding Watchman device implant. This has not been compared systematically with TEE in a large patient sample.
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