Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia in the general population. Atrial fibrillation is associated with an increased risk of thromboembolic events, particularly stroke. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with a higher prevalence of AF and is an independent risk factor of increased mortality and stroke in AF patients. Left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) for stroke prevention plays an important role in the treatment of patients with AF and increased bleeding risk. The impact of CKD on outcomes after LAAC has not been deeply investigated. We assessed whether percutaneous LAAC is safe and feasible in CKD patients.

Material and methods:
Ninety-seven patients (mean age: 73.9 ±8.5 years) with AF and contraindications for oral anticoagulation (OAC) or complications under OAC underwent LAAC with the Amplatzer Cardiac Plug and the Amplatzer Amulet Occluder in an open-label observational single-center study. We classified patients as having normal to mild (KDOQI stage I–II) or moderate to severe (KDOQI stage III–V) CKD.

Patients with moderate to severe CKD (n = 49) had increased CHA2DS2-VASc and HAS-BLED scores and were at higher thromboembolic and bleeding risk (CHA2DS2-VASc: 4.08 ±0.79, HAS-BLED: 4.76 ±0.69) than patients with mild to moderate CKD (n = 48, CHA2DS2-VASc: 3.69 ±1.1, HAS-BLED: 4.06 ±0.66; p < 0.001 for both). In both groups, procedural and occlusion success was similar (97.9% vs. 95.9%; p = 0.479). Follow-up of 6 months and from 12 to 36 months revealed effective stroke prevention and no bleeding complication in both groups.

In spite of a higher thromboembolic and bleeding risk in patients with severe CKD, LAAC is a safe and feasible option for stroke prevention.