More than 2.2 million people worldwide suffer from atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rate that causes poor blood flow to the body. During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two upper chambers beat irregularly, out of sync with the two lower chambers.
Typical surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation, called the Cox-Maze procedure, involves a large incision down the front of the chest and spreading the ribs to gain access to the heart. This provides the surgeon with a direct view of the area to be treated, and the success rate is excellent. However, due to the highly invasive nature of this procedure, it is often done only if another procedure such as a coronary bypass must also be done.
A New Surgical Approach
Surgeons at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center have perfected an alternative technique called a "mini-Maze" procedure, which involves three smaller incisions in the side of the chest.
The mini-Maze procedure can be an effective treatment for atrial fibrillation. By performing this highly technical procedure in a minimally-invasive environment and without spreading the ribs, patients experience much less pain, heal faster, and are able to get back to normal lives much more quickly.
For more information about treatment of atrial fibrillation at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, please call 713-DEBAKEY (332-2539) or complete our online contact us form.