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Mini-Maze Procedure -- Minimally Invasive Surgery

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by Jones P

(Wolf Mini-Maze)

 

Reasons for Procedure

Maze is done to cure atrial fibrillation . Fibrillation is abnormal beating of 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.
 

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Depending on the reason for your surgery, your doctor may do the following:
In the days leading up to the procedure:
  • Talk to your doctor about your medicines, including over-the-counter medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, aspirin )
    • Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), or ticlopidine (Ticlid)
  • 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.

Anesthesia

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

Minimally invasive procedure only requires small cuts to be made in the chest wall. Two small incisions will be made along your side. A small camera will be inserted through one of the incisions. The doctor will be able to look at the heart with this camera. A second tool will be used to create small areas of scar tissue. The tip of the tool uses extreme cold or radiowaves to destroy small areas of tissue. This process is called ablation.
Once the chosen areas have been treated, the instruments will be removed. The skin will be closed with stitches or staples.

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 as needed to help you rest comfortably.

How Long Will It Take?

About 3-4 hours

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. Your doctor will recommend other medicine to help manage soreness later in recovery.

Average Hospital Stay

About 3 days

Post-procedure Care

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 the 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.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
  • Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
  • Not allowing others to touch your incisions
At Home
It can take up to 3-4 weeks 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 can cause constipation. To avoid this problem:
  • Keep the incision area clean and dry.
  • Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
  • Limit certain activities (eg, driving, working, doing strenuous exercise) until your doctor has agreed it is safe.
 

RESOURCES

Heart Rhythm Society
http://www.hrsonline.org/

Society of Thoracic doctors
http://www.sts.org/

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cardiovascular Society
http://www.ccs.ca/

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/

 

References


Maze procedure for treatment of atrial fibrillation. University of Southern California, Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.cts.usc.edu/mazeprocedure.html. Accessed March 12, 2010.


A patient’s guide to heart surgery. University of Southern California, Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.cts.usc.edu/hpg-index.html. March 12, 2010.


Patient information: the maze procedure. Society of Thoracic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.sts.org/doc/4511. Accessed March 3, 2010.


Treatments for atrial fibrillation. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.bidmc.org/CentersandDepartments/Departments/Surgery/CardiacSurgery/DiseasesandConditions/AtrialFibrillation/Treatments.aspx. Accessed March 3, 2010

 

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