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Cardiol Res. 2011 Oct;2(5):201-207. doi: 10.4021/cr79w. Epub 2011 Sep 20.

Maze Procedures for Atrial Fibrillation, From History to Practice.

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Department of Cardiothoracic surgery, Thoraxcentre, Erasmus Medical Centre, The Netherlands.


Atrial fibrillation may result in significant symptoms, (systemic) thrombo-embolism, as well as tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy with cardiac failure, and consequently be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Nowadays symptomatic atrial fibrillation can be treated with catheter-based ablation, surgical ablation or hybrid approaches. In this setting a fairly large number of surgical approaches and procedures are described and being practised. It should be clear that the Cox-maze procedure resulted from building up evidence and experience in different steps, while some of the present surgical approaches and techniques are being based only on technical feasibility with limited experience, rather than on a process of consequent methodology. Some of the issues still under debate are whether or not the maze procedure can be limited to the left atrium or even to isolation of the pulmonary veins or that bi-atrial procedures are indicated, whether or not cardiopulmonary bypass is to be applied and which route of exposure facilitates an optimal result. In addition, maze procedures are not procedures guide by electrophysiological mapping. At least in theory not in all patients all lesions of the maze procedures are necessary. A history and aspects of current practise in surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation is presented.


Atrial fibrillation; Maze procedure; Surgical treatment

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