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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 1996;10(11):983-9; discussion 989-90.

Surgical stratification of patients with atrial fibrillation secondary to organic cardiac lesions.

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  • 1National Cardiovascular Center, Osaka, Japan.



While the maze procedure does not always eliminate atrial fibrillation (AF) secondary to organic cardiac lesions, concomitant performance of the procedure is associated with increased surgical complexity and potential risks.


To stratify the surgical approach for patients with AF secondary to underlying cardiac lesions, we analyzed 24 preoperative and perioperative variables in 115 consecutive patients with AF undergoing a modified maze procedure combined with valvular intervention (101), repair of congenital anomalies (13) and coronary revascularization (1).


Patients who remained in AF (18) compared to patients with restored atrial rhythm (97), had a higher incidence of giant left atrium (56% vs 10%, P < 0.0001), larger cardiothoracic ratio (70 +/- 13 vs 62 +/- 8%, P = 0.001) and left atrial dimension (64 +/- 12 vs 55 +/- 12 mm, P = 0.004), a longer history of AF (13.7 +/- 6.8 vs 8.3 +/- 6.9 years, P = 0.003) and lower f-wave voltage (0.10 vs 0.15 mV, P = 0.004). Multivariate logistic regression analysis of 24 preoperative and perioperative variables identified the presence of giant left atrium, cardiothoracic ratio and age at operation as the significant risk factors predisposing patients to persistent postoperative AF. Retrospective estimation identified 73 (63.5%) patients with a high probability of atrial defibrillation (97.3%) and 42 (36.5%) patients with a high risk of failure (38.1%). Regardless of the preoperative risk analysis or the performance of left atrial plication, every patient with a postoperative left atrial dimension less than 40 mm or cardiothoracic ratio below 55% was successfully defibrillated.


The results suggest performing the maze procedure before "risk factors" develop for patients with predicted maze-amenable AF. While omitting the maze procedure may be prudent for patients with suspected maze-refractory AF, the simultaneous reduction of left atrial size may offset the increased risk from preoperative size factors. A prospective study seems warranted to examine the effects of left atrial plication on postoperative rhythm.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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