What to Expect
If the minimally invasive maze procedure or robotic assisted minimally invasive maze surgery is not ideal for you the maze surgery can also be performed as open-heart surgery with a heart-lung machine.
Maze surgery treats atrial fibrillation, a type of an abnormal heart rhythm, by creating a "maze" of new electrical pathways so that electrical impulses can travel easily through the heart. Cardiovascular surgeons perform this surgery after a person with atrial fibrillation has experienced poor results from medications or other types of treatment.
How Maze Surgery Is Performed
During the open-heart procedure, the surgeon will connect the heart to a cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), a heart-lung machine, which assumes the function of the heart and lungs. To keep the heart still, the heart is stopped or "arrested" so the surgeon can perform the precise surgery on the heart without it beating. The heart-lung machine allows blood to continue circulating in the body while the surgery is performed.
With the heart stopped, the surgeon uses a scalpel to create several precise incisions in the right and left atria to form scar tissue in a maze-like pattern. The scar tissue creates a "maze" of new electrical pathways so that electrical impulses can travel easily through the heart.
Following the surgery, cardiac rehabilitation is provided in stages to help reduce risk for future heart problems and to make the recovery process quick.