What Is a Heart MAZE?

There are many ways to control and treat atrial fibrillation. Some of these include medicines and interventions delivered through a catheter.

Your doctor may also recommend surgery. The MAZE procedure is a type of heart surgery that treats atrial fibrillation.

The goal of the MAZE procedure is to do the following:

  • Wear away the arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat)
  • Restore synchrony (a healthy beating rhythm) between the atria and the ventricles
  • Make sure your atria (the upper chambers of your heart) continue to contract normally

Your doctor will perform a MAZE procedure to stop the irregular electrical patterns in your heart that are causing your arrhythmia. To stop your heart’s irregular electrical signals, your doctor will carefully make incisions (or cuts) in both of your heart’s upper chambers (also called atria). This is similar to a catheter ablation procedure, but MAZE is performed surgically.

Whenever your skin or muscles are cut, your body naturally forms scar tissue. Scar tissue in your atria then blocks the irregular electrical signals that are traveling throughout your heart. Blocking these signals will get rid of arrhythmia. This is because irregular electrical signals cause atrial fibrillation. Your heart's natural pacemaker will work correctly as soon as your heart’s electrical signals are normal again.

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