Maze Procedure

Why is the doctor performing this procedure?

To prevent recurrence of Atrial Fibrillation. Usually this procedure is recommended if medications, cardioversion, and catheter ablation have failed to control the Atrial Fibrillation.

What is the procedure?

Atrial Fibrillation is a heart arrhythmia during which electrical signals fire rapidly and erratically within the atria (top heart chambers), making the atria disorganized and unable to beat normally. The Maze Procedure is an open-heart surgery to create a new, stable, and defined electrical pathway (a surgically created "maze") for impulses to travel within the atria.

  • The pumping and oxygenation function of the heart is taken over by a heart-lung machine during the surgery, and medications are given that briefly paralyze the heart (cardioplegia). This way, the heart is completely at rest while the surgeon performs the procedure.
  • The surgeon then makes a series, or "Maze" of precise incisions in the heart muscle, interrupting the abnormal electrical conduction paths, while creating a new discrete path for normal, organized electrical transmission of impulses.
  • Scar tissue develops around the surgical incisions, and helps to maintain the electrical impulses within the proper path.

The goal is to control the chaotic heart beats that result from Atrial Fibrillation; but sometimes medications or a pacemaker may be required after surgery.

Where is the procedure performed?

In the Operating Room (OR), under general anesthesia.

How long does this procedure take?

The Maze Procedure takes, on average, 3 hours.