Does left atrial appendage ligation during coronary bypass surgery decrease the incidence of postoperative stroke?

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The study objective was to evaluate the association between surgical left atrial appendage ligation and in-hospital stroke incidence after coronary artery bypass grafting among patients with atrial fibrillation.


A retrospective cohort study was performed by using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample between 2008 and 2014. All atrial fibrillation patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft were included and categorized as left atrial appendage ligation or control group. Propensity score–weighted regression analyses were performed to assess the impact of left atrial appendage ligation on stroke incidence.


A total of 234,642 patients were identified, among whom 20,664 (8.81%) received concomitant left atrial appendage ligation. The national postoperative stroke incidence was 0.92%. Results of the propensity-weighted regression analysis showed no significant association between LAA ligation and control with regard to postoperative stroke (odds ratio [OR], 0.83; confidence interval [CI], 0.57-1.22; P = .35), pericardial complications (OR, 1.15; CI, 0.88-1.49; P = .31), hemorrhage and/or hematoma (OR, 1.08; CI, 0.99-1.17; P = .07), mortality (OR, 1.29; CI, 0.99-1.68; P = .06), and length of stay (coefficient −0.21; CI, −0.44-0.02; P = .08). There was no specific CHA2DS2VASC score cutoff above which left atrial appendage ligation was demonstrated to have lower postoperative stroke incidence.


The postoperative stroke risk after coronary artery bypass grafting was low at approximately 1% among patients with atrial fibrillation in the United States. Concomitant left atrial appendage ligation was not associated with lower postoperative stroke risk.

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