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BACKGROUND: Left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion with WATCHMAN has emerged as viable alternative to vitamin K antagonists in randomized controlled trials. OBJECTIVE: EWOLUTION was designed to provide data in routine practice from a prospective multicenter registry. METHODS: A total of 1025 patients scheduled for a WATCHMAN implant were prospectively and sequentially enrolled at 47 centers. Indication for LAA closure was based on European Society of Cardiology guidelines. Follow-up and transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) were performed per local practice. RESULTS: The baseline CHA2DS2-VASc score was 4.5 ± 1.6; the mean age was 73.4 ± 9 years; previous transient ischemic attack/ischemic stroke was present in 312 (30.5%), 155 (15.1%) had previous hemorrhagic stroke, and 320 (31.3%) had a history of major bleeding; and 750 (73%) were deemed unsuitable for oral anticoagulation therapy. WATCHMAN implant succeeded in 1005 (98.5%) of patients, without leaks >5 mm in 1002 (99.7%) with at least 1 TEE follow-up in 875 patients (87%). Antiplatelet therapy was used in 784 (83%), while vitamin K antagonists were used in only 75 (8%). At 1 year, mortality was 98 (9.8%), reflecting the advanced age and comorbidities in this population. Device thrombus was observed in 28 patients at routine TEE (3.7%) and was not correlated with the drug regimen (P = .14). Ischemic stroke rate was 1.1% (relative risk 84% vs estimated historical data); the major bleeding rate was 2.6% and was predominantly (2.3%) nonprocedure/device related. CONCLUSION: LAA closure with the WATCHMAN device has a high implant and sealing success. This method of stroke risk reduction appears to be safe and effective with an ischemic stroke rate as low as 1.1%, even though 73% of patients had a contraindication to and were not using oral anticoagulation.

Original publication




Journal article


Heart Rhythm

Publication Date





1302 - 1308


Atrial fibrillation, Bleeding, LAA closure, Left atrial appendage, Stroke, Administration, Oral, Aged, Anticoagulants, Atrial Appendage, Atrial Fibrillation, Brain Ischemia, Cause of Death, Contraindications, Drug, Europe, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Incidence, Male, Prognosis, Prospective Studies, Survival Rate, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome, United States