Services at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix  

Maze Heart Procedure

Heart patients can benefit from heart services performed at Cavanagh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ.  

The Cavanagh Heart Center at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix offers the Maze heart procedure for Arizona patients with chronic atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal rhythm or heartbeat pattern involving the atria or upper chambers of the heart. It is a potentially dangerous condition.

Atrial fibrillation can be treated with medications or heart ablation but some people are not good candidates for ablation and others do not tolerate medications’ side effects. For those patients, we offer Maze surgery as an option for atrial fibrillation.

What is the Maze heart procedure?

The Maze procedure is a surgical procedure to control atrial fibrillation and/or atrial flutter. During the procedure, incisions are made on the atria to create scar tissue, which does not conduct electricity and disrupts the path of abnormal electrical impulses. The scar tissue also helps prevent abnormal electrical signals from recurring. After the incisions are made, the atrium is sewn back together.

The Maze can be performed either through an open chest procedure or a minimally invasive procedure.  Ninety percent of Maze surgeries are done in conjunction with other open chest surgery, such as coronary artery bypass grafting, mitral valve repair and/or valve replacement.

Cavanagh Heart Center also offers a Hybrid Maze Procedure.

What happens during an open chest Maze surgery?

Open chest Maze surgery means that the surgeon makes an incision down the center of the patient's chest and splits the sternum (breastbone) to allow access to the chest. During this surgery, the heart is stopped and a heart-lung machine is used. 

There are risks associated with the Open Chest Maze surgery for atrial fibrillation since it is performed during open-heart surgery; patients may stay in the hospital for up to seven to ten days. They will feel pain in their chest, ribs, and shoulders in the days following surgery. 

What happens during a minimally invasive Maze procedure?

Minimally invasive Maze surgery is performed through small keyhole incisions made between the ribs, through which a tiny camera and video guided instruments are inserted.  This minimally invasive surgery eliminates the need for dividing the sternum, does not require the heart to be stopped, and does not require a heart-lung machine to be used. This often results in shorter recovery time and a lower risk of infection than that associated with open-heart surgery.

What is a Hybrid Maze Procedure?

A Hybrid Maze procedure is a combination of minimally invasive Maze surgery with electrophysiology (EP) testing.  Both are completed during the surgical procedure. 

After the Maze portion is completed, the electrophysiologist and the cardiovascular surgeon test to be sure the abnormal electrical pathways are disrupted. The advantage to the Hybrid procedure is that any erratic electrical pathways remaining after the Maze are identified. This allows the physicians to eradicate all pathways during one procedure.

For More Heart Rhythm Information 


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Call Cavanagh Heart Center concierge at (602) 839-2400 for all your heart care questions.
Call Cavanagh Heart Center concierge at (602) 839-2400 for all your heart care questions.
Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix
1111 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006
(602) 839-2000
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