Surgery for Atrial Fibrillation
The Maze procedure is designed to cure atrial fibrillation by interrupting the electrical impulses that cause an abnormal rhythm. This open-heart operation involves the placement of incisions in both atria. When the incisions heal, scar tissue forms, creating a "roadblock" that prevents the abnormal electrical impulses from passing through the heart. Maze corrects all the major problems associated with atrial fibrillation:
- It stops the atrial arrhythmia
- It restores normal rhythm between the atria and the ventricles
- It preserves the ability of the atria to contract on its own
Our surgeons have been involved in the development of modifications of the Maze procedure that make this operation less invasive. These "modified" Maze procedures utilize special energy sources, such as radiofrequency energy, to create scars in the atrial walls instead of incisions. This minimally invasive approach makes the procedure less traumatic for patients. Modified Maze procedures are effective in all patients with atrial fibrillation, and are especially appropriate for patients in whom catheter ablation was not effective.
NewYork-Presbyterian also performs robotically assisted heart surgery in select cases. The three-dimensional visualization and technical precision of robotic assistance has improved surgeons' ability to perform difficult procedures through small incisions with greater accuracy. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital uses robotics to perform totally endoscopic surgical ablation for select patients with atrial fibrillation.