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MAZE Procedure

Why would you need a MAZE procedure?

The MAZE procedure is a surgical treatment for atrial fibrillation. It’s also called a “surgical ablation.” Atrial fibrillation (AF or A-Fib) is an abnormal heart rhythm, characterized by rapid and irregular beating. It can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack.

Treatment Options

The surgeon can use small incisions, radio waves, freezing, or microwave or ultrasound energy to create scar tissue. The scar tissue, which does not conduct electrical activity, blocks the abnormal electrical signals causing the arrhythmia. The scar tissue directs electric signals through a controlled path, or maze, to the lower heart chambers (ventricles).

The MAZE procedure can be done through small cuts in the chest, or during open-heart surgery. The procedure may even be done if a person is having another heart surgery, such as coronary artery bypass and valve repair or replacement.

Most mini MAZE patients seem to go back to walking and exercising within a few days, though regaining energy and muscle mass takes time. Most are back at work within a few days to two weeks after surgery. The mini incisions should heal and leave only tiny scars on the sides of the chest. It’s important that you follow your care instructions to the incision site after surgery and during your recovery time. Voicing your concerns with your physician before and after surgery can give you peace of mind and aid in a speedy recovery.

Recovery Process

Recovery for an open MAZE procedure is similar to that of CABG as your chest will be opened, needing time for your sternum to fuse back together, and for your energy to return. In about 4-6 weeks you should feel your energy and strength returning, and daily activities should feel normal again. It is vital that you follow up with your doctor and follow all post-operative care instructions, giving yourself an opportunity for a normal and uneventful recovery.