Are You a Candidate for a Maze Procedure?

Suppose you have atrial fibrillation and will undergo open-heart surgery for valve repair or coronary artery bypass (CABG). In that case, your afib can be treated at the same time with a maze procedure. This is called a concomitant procedure or concomitant ablation surgery. Consider asking your surgeon specifically whether your afib will be treated during your open-heart surgery. Unfortunately, not all surgeons can do this concomitant maze procedure.

A maze procedure can also be done as a standalone procedure just for afib. It may be chosen if previous procedures have not resolved the afib. The maze procedure has a high success rate, though it involves a longer and more difficult recovery.

To prepare for discussing your surgery with the surgeon, see Partnering with Your Doctor.

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Preparing for the Maze Procedure

If you meet your surgeon’s criteria, you’ll be sent for a pre-surgery evaluation that typically involves some of these tests:

From these test results, you and your surgeon will decide if you can move forward with the maze procedure. Once you’re scheduled for surgery, you’ll begin your pre-surgery preparations. Plan to discuss with your surgeon what you should and should not do before surgery. Expect to have some pre-surgery tests a few days in advance, including blood work. Expect your INR to be checked if you’re on warfarin. You may also meet with the anesthesia staff to determine how much and what anesthesia should be used.

You might ask your surgeon for any information or resources to tell you what to expect during and after surgery, including your follow-up medical schedule and activity restrictions. In addition, you could ask what side effects to look out for and when to notify your surgeon of these. Also, you may want to find out how to manage your incision site after surgery and how to clear the anesthesia from your body. Having this knowledge beforehand will allow you to be prepared and procure any necessary supplies before you need them.

You may need to stop anticoagulants before your procedure. Your surgeon will advise as to whether to discontinue them and other medications before surgery. You’ll also be instructed not to have any food or drink for about 12 hours before surgery, or at least not after midnight the night before.

To learn more about what to expect during the surgical ablation maze procedure for atrial fibrillation and other heart issues, see What to Expect During a Maze Procedure.

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