What to Expect During a Mini Maze Procedure

We’ve collected personal insights about what to expect from patients who have had minimally invasive afib surgery. For example, our founder Mellanie True Hills had the mini maze procedure. She wanted to eliminate her heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat and discontinue her anticoagulant. As instructed, she checked into the hospital at 6 AM the morning of her surgery with no make-up or jewelry. Once back in the prep area, she changed into a hospital gown, and her shoes and clothes went into a bag that she gave to her husband.

Next, an IV was inserted in her forearm. This was a challenge because, like many women, she has tiny blood vessels. After the IV was inserted, the anesthesia was started. That’s all she remembers until she woke up in her hospital room later that same day.

A mini maze procedure takes about 2–4 hours, depending on a patient’s anatomy, surgeon experience, and the number and placement of ablation lines.

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Mellanie True Hills
Founder & CEO, StopAfib.org

If you have sleep apnea and your surgeon plans to ablate the nerve bundles called ganglionated plexi, you may want to watch this video, Noted Electrophysiologist and Ablation Pioneer Discusses New Findings About Atrial Fibrillation and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It explains the impact of treating the ganglionated plexi on sleep apnea.

During the procedure, most surgeons use a left atrial appendage device to remove or close off the heart’s left atrial appendage (LAA). The LAA is a pouch on the left atrium of the heart. It is considered the source of most blood clots responsible for strokes in afib patients. Removing or closing the LAA is thought to eliminate afib stroke risk.

For most patients we have talked with, removing the left atrial appendage was a significant benefit of minimally invasive surgical ablation over catheter ablation. This was because removal of the LAA made them more confident that they were no longer at risk of blood clots and stroke.

To learn more, see What to Expect After a Mini Maze Procedure.

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