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Maze Procedure

If you have atrial fibrillation that has not responded well to other treatments, talk to your doctor about the maze procedure available at Virginia Hospital Center.

What’s Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation, or Afib, is a common type of arrhythmia, or heart rhythm disorder. It’s caused by abnormal electrical signals that make the heart beat irregularly. Your heart may beat too fast and cause poor blood flow and lower energy levels.

Treatment Options

After a diagnosis of Afib, you and your cardiologist will work together to find a treatment that works best for you. Your doctor may recommend the maze procedure if:

  • You have not had previous heart surgery
  • Your Afib does not respond well to medications or radiofrequency ablation

Talk to your cardiologist about the potential risks and benefits of the maze procedure.

Minimally Invasive Option

If you have Afib without other heart issues, your experienced surgeon and electrophysiology team can use less invasive methods than what’s done in traditional, or open, heart surgery. This technique is known as a mini-maze procedure. You’ll benefit from:

  • No chest incisions or ports
  • Less pain and risk of complications
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery
  • Improved energy levels so you can return to your favorite activities sooner
  • Reduced Afib symptoms, such as palpitations, chest discomfort or pain, fainting or lightheadedness, fatigue and shortness of breath

How it’s Done

Trust our skilled team to expertly use advanced techniques to help restore a normal heart rhythm.

Maze Procedure

If you have a traditional maze procedure, your surgeon will open the chest and use radiofrequency waves, or heat, to create scar tissue on the heart. The scar tissue prevents the abnormal electrical signals that cause Afib.

Mini-Maze Procedure

Your heart surgeon will make a small incision in the abdomen, then place a scope and camera in the body. A camera will guide the scope to the heart to create scar tissue.

An electrophysiologist will then thread a long, thin tube called a catheter through a vein in the groin. They’ll use radiofrequency waves or extreme cold to make sure the procedure was effective and the abnormal electrical signals have been treated.

After Surgery

Most people who take daily heart rhythm medications to treat Afib are able to stop taking them after the maze procedure. Your care team may recommend cardiac rehabilitation, a supervised exercise program to improve your heart health and avoid future problems.

Related Locations

  • Main Hospital
    Main Hospital

    703-558-5000

    1701 N George Mason Drive
    Arlington, VA 22205