Atrial Fibrillation: What is the Maze Procedure?
Atrial fibrillation is known as one of the most dangerous conditions of the heart. The infection can easily lead to stroke if you are not careful. It causes abnormal vibrations in the heart chambers, especially the atria. It alters the electrical impulses in the heart. As a result, the heart functions abnormally. Some of the heart tissues can be destroyed in the process. In cases where blood pools into the atria chamber of the heart and gets into the bloodstream, it can lead to a stroke. AFib is known to be caused by a number of factors, most of them resulting from your lifestyle. People consuming too much alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine are at a higher risk. Other infections such as thyroid diseases and heart infections can cause the infection.
When Is the Maze Procedure Performed?
The maze procedure is a surgical procedure performed when other treatment measures have failed. This is used when medications cannot control arrhythmias.
A doctor is likely to propose this procedure depending on the following conditions:
- If you prefer a surgery rather than a catheter ablation
- In case you are having a heart surgery and you have atrial fibrillation symptoms
- If you previously undertaken a catheter ablation and shown no signs of improvement
- Medications to control heart rhythm having failed
Types of Maze Surgery
The main purpose for a maze procedure is to restore your heart’s beating patterns back to normal. Here are different types of maze surgeries you can receive:
This is a procedure that is meant to minimize damage of heart tissues as compared to open-chest operation. A surgeon inserts a small camera through holes made on the right side of your body, beneath your armpits. This helps the doctor to observe heart chambers. Once this is done, radio waves are driven throw a catheter, which destroys the faulty chambers. It takes a minimal time of around 2-3 hours.
2. Open Chest Procedure
This is a more complex and complicated procedure. A surgeon will require more time to perform this type of surgery. It involves opening the chest and making necessary incisions. A doctor will make several cuts, creating a scar that will prevent transmission of abnormal electrical charges.
This procedure is more or less similar to the mini-maze procedure. A catheter is driven to the heart chamber. The difference is that unlike a mini-maze, which uses heat to destroy tissues, this procedures will make use of cold temperatures to freeze the faulty tissues.
How Is a Maze Procedure Prepared?
It is a crucial procedure which requires preparation for weeks before the day of the surgery. Precautions taken before you undergo the procedure include:
- Stop smoking
- Blood tests to confirm the infection
- Stop certain medications
- X-rays of the chest to ascertain your condition
- You are required to have an empty stomach for 24 hours prior to the operation
The Bottom Line
The maze procedure is an efficient procedure that can help treat atrial fibrillation. However, the surgery is accompanied by a number of risks that you should take into consideration. They may include:
Irrespective of the risks accompanied with the procedure, the process is efficient if undertaken properly. Patients will take some time to heal, but following doctor’s guidelines it takes a shorter time. Always try other treatment options before undertaking the maze procedure.
In case you detect any symptoms of atrial fibrillation, get a medical check-up in time to prevent further effects, such as stroke.