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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2001 Apr;19(4):438-42.

The efficacy of the Cox/maze procedure combined with mitral valve surgery: a matched control study.

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Division of Cardiovascular Surgery of Toronto General Hospital and University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To evaluate the results of the maze procedure combined with mitral valve (MV) surgery in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation (AF).


From 1994--1999, 47 patients with chronic AF underwent the maze procedure combined with MV surgery (maze group). They were compared to 47 patients matched for age, sex, left ventricular function and type of MV surgery (non-maze group). The maze group had less severe symptoms but larger left atrium, and AF of longer duration than the non-maze group. One surgeon performed all operations in both groups of patients.


There were two early deaths in the maze group (4.5%) and one (2.2%) in the non-maze group. The duration of cardiopulmonary bypass (P=0.0001) and aortic crossclamping (P=0.0001) were greater in the maze group. Mean follow-up was 26+/-3 months in the maze group and 32+/-4 months in the non-maze group, and was 100% complete. Three-year survival was 96+/-3% for the maze group compared to 85+/-7% for the non-maze group (P=0.16). At the latest follow-up, 75% of the maze patients were in sinus rhythm compared to 36% of the non-maze patients (P=0.0004); 38% of the maze group were on coumadin postoperatively, compared to 69% in the non-maze group (P=0.003); and patients in the maze group were on fewer antiarrhythmic medications (P=0.0002). Three-year freedom from thromboembolic complications was 100% for the maze group compared to 83+/-7% for the non-maze group (P=0.03).


In this retrospective study the maze procedure did not seem to increase operative mortality of MV surgery, was effective in eliminating atrial fibrillation, and reduced the risk of thromboembolic complications and the need for long-term anticoagulation after mitral valve repair or replacement with a bioprosthesis.

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