What is a Maze Procedure?

Maze surgery, or a Maze procedure, is used to treat atrial fibrillation, a kind of irregular heartbeat. The heart muscle is controlled by small electrical impulses within the chest. These electrical beats cause the heart to contract and pump blood throughout the body. In atrial fibrillation, the electricity doesn't move correctly through the heart, leading to fast and uncoordinated contractions. As a result, blood isn't moved through the heart effectively and can pool in the upper chambers, increasing the risk of blood clots and stroke.

During a Maze procedure, the surgeon makes many tiny incisions in lines running from the top of the heart to the bottom. These incisions can give the appearance of a maze as they cover the surface of the heart. Scar tissue does not conduct electricity, so when the incision lines heal, they provide a guide to keep electricity flowing in the right direction.

Maze surgery is usually performed when other treatments have not worked to control atrial fibrillation. It can be done as open heart surgery or through minimally invasive surgery, which uses small openings and a camera to guide the physician. It is often performed along with other heart surgeries, such as a bypass operation. After a Maze procedure, you will need to stay in the hospital for several days. Full recovery can take up to two months.

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