Beyond Advanced Care for Atrial Fibrillation

Also known as surgical ablation, minimally invasive maze surgery, or “mini maze,” is a technique used to surgically treat atrial fibrillation, without the need to open the chest. Mini maze is performed using small incisions and special surgical tools, leading to shorter recovery time and lower risk of infection. 

What is atrial fibrillation?

The most common form of arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation (A-­‐fib) is an interruption in the regular heartbeat that can lead to clots, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. At the minimum, A-­‐fib can cause shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue. When medications and other conventional interventions fail to restore a normal heartbeat, mini maze ablation is a leading option.

What is mini maze?

Mini maze involves making several small incisions within the wall of the atria. This results in formation of scar tissue that ensures movement of the electrical impulses in the proper direction. The key difference between maze and mini maze is that with the minimally invasive surgery, it only requires one or two small incisions in the chest.

How is mini maze performed?

This procedure is done by a cardiothoracic surgeon, and takes 3-­‐4 hours. Since it doesn't require the large incisions in the sternum that are necessary for open-­‐heart surgery, recovery time is much shorter and easier, and most patients are afib-­‐free afterwards. The mini maze procedure offers a way to stop the irregular heartbeats and heart palpitations without the long and difficult recovery from open-­‐heart surgery.

To learn more, or schedule an appointment, call Hartford Hospital’s A-Fib Center at (860) 972-­‐1506.