MAZE Procedure – Surgical Ablation

Generally referred to as a COX Maze procedure, the MAZE procedure surgically corrects atrial fibrillation.

It may be performed as a concomitant procedure with another open heart operation, or as a stand-alone procedure.

In the course of the MAZE procedure, the surgeon makes a series of scars (or “lesions”) in the upper chambers of the heart. This is done to block the spread of electrical stimulus leading to atrial fibrillation.  

When performed as a concomitant operation, a MAZE doesn’t add much risk to the procedure, nor does it require additional incisions. Success rates of 80% or higher are reported, but can vary depending on the patient’s condition. A MAZE procedure can also be done as a stand-alone operation. On its own, a MAZE procedure involves excision of the left atrial appendage.

This procedure is generally the last resort for patients experiencing isolated atrial fibrillation. Other commonly used treatments may have failed to help these patients, who have typically had one or more ablations, and several failed electrical cardioversions. Stand-alone MAZE procedures are carried out through minimally invasive techniques, avoiding a sternotomy.

Minimally invasive procedures are most frequently done through two or three small incisions between the ribs on the right side of the chest or, less commonly, incisions on both sides of the chest.

If you are in need of a MAZE procedure or to find out if you are a candidate for minimally invasive robotic surgery, please contact us.