BACKGROUND Strokes develop even in patients with low CHADS2 scores, and the left atrial appendage (LAA) is the embolic source 90% of the time. We focused on the LAA morphology as a new predictor of strokes. OBJECTIVE To clarify the anatomical characteristics of the LAA for risk stratification of strokes in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF) who have low CHADS2 scores. METHODS Among 80 patients who underwent catheter ablation of AF with contrast-enhanced computed tomography, the LAA characteristics were compared between 30 patients with histories of strokes and 50 age-matched controls. The LAA anatomy was classified into 4 types-"cactus," "cauliflower," "chicken wing," and "windsock"- discriminated by the computed tomography measurements of the length, angle, and number of lobes of the LAA. RESULTS The average CHADS2 score did not differ significantly between patients with stroke and controls (0.8 ± 0.8 vs 0.6 ± 0.7; P = .277). Eight (26.7%) patients with stroke had CHA2DS2-VASc scores of 0. The left atrial size, LAA flow velocity, left ventricular function, and serum brain natriuretic peptide level were also unable to predict strokes. However, a "cauliflower" LAA, defined as a main lobe of less than 4 cm long without forked lobes, was significantly more common in patients with stroke (odds ratio 3.857; 95% confidence interval 1.482-10.037; P = .005). The CHA 2DS2-VASc score-adjusted logistic regression analysis revealed the cauliflower LAA as an independent predictor of a stroke (odds ratio 3.355; 95% confidence interval 1.243-9.055; P = .017). CONCLUSIONS The LAA anatomy might be useful for predicting strokes in patients with nonvalvular AF who have low CHADS2 scores.
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