What to Expect After a Maze Procedure

After surgery, you will likely spend 1–2 days in the intensive care unit (ICU) and several more days in a regular nursing unit, for a total of 5–7 days in the hospital. Recovery takes about 6–8 weeks.

About one-third of patients experience some atrial fibrillation or skipped heartbeats within a few weeks or months after maze surgery due to swelling and inflammation of atrial tissue. In addition, some patients require a pacemaker following surgery. In those cases, afib may have masked underlying issues with their sinus (sinoatrial) node, the heart’s natural pacemaker.

You will likely be placed on a blood thinner (anticoagulant) for a few months afterward. In addition, patients experiencing afib episodes or atrial flutter when being discharged from the hospital may be asked to take antiarrhythmic drugs for a few months. A diuretic may also be prescribed to decrease fluid retention.

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After leaving the hospital, patients typically check with their doctors within a week and follow up with their cardiologists within a month. Then, they have an EKG at 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and each year afterward.

To learn about minimally invasive surgical ablation, called the mini maze procedure, see Mini Maze Procedure (Surgical Ablation).

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