Cardiac Surgery > Thoracic Aortic Surgery
Heart rhythm problems that originate in the atria affect many individuals each year and have long been a source of concern. In particular, atrial fibrillation has proven to be an important issue because of the frequency with which it occurs and its potentially devastating consequences, including stoke. Despite advances in drug treatment, a significant number of patients remain affected by atrial fibrillation which can occur as a problem by itself or can complicate other types of heart disease.
The medical community began to gain an increased understanding of atrial fibrillation and the mechanisms that produce it. From this understanding came a surgical procedure called the MAZE operation, which for the first time, proved to be a highly reliable and effective procedure for the treatment of this heart rhythm problem. The procedure has been applied not only to patients who have stand-alone AF, but also to patients who are undergoing surgery for other types of heart problems.
In general, patients are candidates for the MAZE procedure if they have atrial fibrillation that has not been successfully controlled on medications or their AF is poorly tolerated (poor exercise capacity). Patients who are in AF and are not able to take the blood thinner that is required to prevent stroke may also be appropriate candidates.