Maze Heart Procedure
The CardioVascular Institute of North Colorado offers the Maze heart procedure for 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.
What happens during a open chest Maze procedure?
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.