Maze is done to treat atrial fibrillation. Fibrillation is abnormal beating of the heart muscle. It is caused by erratic electrical impulses that travel through the heart muscle. These impulses can cause the chambers to beat too fast. This can decrease blood flow through the heart. Atrial fibrillation can also cause blood clots to form in the heart that can travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
Maze is used to treat severe cases that did not respond to medicine or other procedures. Electrical impulses cannot flow through scar tissue. By creating specific patterns of scar tissue, maze surgery creates a pathway for healthy impulses and blocks erratic impulses.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have this procedure, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital. Also, have someone help you at home.
Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
If you smoke, it is best to stop.
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep during the surgery. You may also be given a sedative before surgery to help you relax.
Description of the Procedure
After you are asleep, the doctor will cut through the skin and breastbone. The chest cavity will be opened. Next, the heart will be connected to the heart-lung machine. This machine will take over the functions of the heart and lungs during surgery. Once the machine is active, the heart will be stopped.
A series of small cuts will be made in the atria. The cuts will be made in a maze-like pattern to direct the electrical impulses. The incisions will then be closed with sutures. In some cases, a pacemaker may need to be placed.
Once the maze-like pattern has been completed, the heart will be restarted. When the heart is working well, you will be removed from the heart-lung machine. The chest will be closed with wires. Finally, the skin will be closed with sutures.
Immediately After Procedure
Your recovery will be monitored in the intensive care unit. Your heart’s activity will be recorded by EKG. Pain medicine will be given to help you rest comfortably.
How Long Will It Take?
About three hours
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery and early recovery. Your chest will be very sore. You may have a pain pump with IV medicine for the first few days. Your doctor will recommend other medicine to help manage soreness later in recovery.
Average Hospital Stay
At the Hospital
While you are recovering at the hospital, you may receive the following care:
Fluids and pain medicine will be given through an IV line. You may be given medicine to help control build up of fluids.
Efforts will be made to get you out of bed and walking as soon as possible.
You will be asked to do deep breathing and coughing exercises. This will help reduce the risk of fluid build up in your lungs.
If a pacemaker was placed, you will be given instruction on its care.
It can take up to six months to fully recover. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions, which may include:
Rest when needed. At first, it is normal to feel more tired than usual.
Walk daily. Activity will help with the healing process.
Take the pain medicine as directed. Some pain medicine causes constipation. To prevent this, drink plenty of fluids and eat high-fiber foods.
Keep the incision area clean and dry.
Limit certain activities (eg, driving, working, doing strenuous exercise) until you have recovered.
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Cough or shortness of breath
New chest pain
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Palpitations or rapid heart rate
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
Coughing up blood
Headache or feeling faint
Inability to urinate
Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
Other worrisome symptoms
Call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately if any of the following occurs:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a