What is Mini-Maze Surgery?
During this minimally invasive procedure, a surgeon makes three small incisions on each side of the chest to reach the heart. Using specially designed medical devices, the surgeon stimulates nerves on the outside of the heart. Any that fire erratically and cause irregular heartbeats are isolated and ablated (or burned).
Additionally, the surgeon tests nerve clusters surrounding the atria. Clusters that may be inciting severe a-fib episodes are tested; those triggering irregular heartbeats are also ablated.
The resulting scar tissue blocks erratic electrical impulses. Those that normally regulate heartbeats are transmitted through the new “maze” and a more regular rhythm is established.
When the heartbeat is irregular, blood can pool in an ear-like pocket on the left side of the heart and form clots, which can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. That is why patients with a-fib take blood thinners like Coumadin – sometimes for the rest of their life.
This appendage is removed during the Mini-Maze, reducing the five-to-six fold increased risk of stroke and eliminating the need for blood thinners.
Regular, slower electrical signals prompt the heart chambers to contract normally following the Mini-Maze. The heart rhythm is re-established and a healthy blood flow resumes.
Most a-fib patients leave the hospital two days after surgery and quickly return to an active, healthy lifestyle. They look forward to a future without the fear of developing congestive heart failure or having a stroke.
Rather than live with this often debilitating disease, the multitude of medications, and the ever-present risk of heart deterioration, stroke and death, the majority of a-fib sufferers can be cured.
How Effective is the Mini-Maze?
Although it is the newest A-Fib treatment option, the Mini-Maze often restores the heart’s normal rhythm, permanently in many cases and without major surgery.
This innovative surgery has proven effective in more than 90 percent of a-fib patients with less chronic A-Fib.