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What is a maze procedure?

A maze procedure is surgery to treat atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a type of heart arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm. Atrial fibrillation occurs when the electrical signal that causes your heart to beat travels through the heart muscle in a disorganized manner. This results in a heartbeat that is too fast and irregular. Having atrial fibrillation puts you at risk of stroke and heart failure.

A maze procedure involves making a series of cuts in the heart muscle and sewing them back together. As the cuts heal, your body makes scar tissue that blocks the disorganized electrical signal and irregular heart rhythm. This allows your heart to beat normally.

A maze procedure is major surgery that has risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having a maze procedure. 

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Nov 5, 2013

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Medical References

Atrial Fibrillation Surgery – Maze Procedure. Society of Thoracic Surgeons. http://www.sts.org/patient-information/arrhythmia-surgery/atrial-fibrillation-surgery. Accessed July 1, 2013.
Electrophysiology: MAZE Procedure. Cedars-Sinai. http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Heart-Institute/Treatments/Electrophysiology-MAZE-Procedure.aspx. Accessed July 1, 2013.
Maze Surgery. Texas Heart Institute. http://www.texasheartinstitute.org/HIC/Topics/Proced/mazes.cfm. Accessed July 1, 2013.
Surgical Procedures for Atrial Fibrillation. Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/electric/surgtx.aspx. Accessed July 1, 2013.

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