Are You a Candidate for a Mini Maze Procedure?
Based on input from many surgeons, most afib patients who undergo minimally invasive surgical ablation procedures meet the following criteria:
- Have a confirmed diagnosis of atrial fibrillation
- Are between the ages of 18 and 80 — although some patients over the age of 80 are also good candidates
- Have afib symptoms
- Have failed antiarrhythmic drugs or are intolerant to them
- Are not morbidly obese
- Have not had a previous open-chest procedure (heart or lung)
If you’re considering having a minimally invasive surgical ablation, a consultation with the surgeon will help you understand the procedure and get answers to your questions. In the consultation, you’ll discuss your overall health, medical history, and afib history to determine if you’re a good candidate and can expect a good outcome. To prepare for your discussion with the surgeon, see Partnering with Your Doctor.
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Preparing for the Mini Maze Procedure
If you meet the surgeon’s criteria, a pre-surgery evaluation typically involves some of these tests:
From these results, you and your surgeon will decide whether minimally invasive surgical ablation is a good option for you. 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 any activity restrictions. In addition, you could ask what side effects to look out for, such as chest tightness, breathing difficulties, or unusual heart rhythms, and when to notify your surgeon of these. Also, you may want to find out how to manage your incision sites 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, or you may stay on them throughout. This is an evolving area and subject to change with continuing research. Your surgeon will advise as to whether to discontinue 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. If you’re female, see For Women Having a Mini Maze Procedure to address special items you may want to procure beforehand.
To learn more, see What to Expect During a Mini Maze Procedure.
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