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Minimally Invasive Maze Procedure


  • Minimally invasive maze procedure is an endoscopic surgery done to treat atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation, also called AF or A-fib, is the most common irregular heart rhythm (beat) problem. Normally, an electrical impulse (stimulus) is triggered by the sino-atrial node in the atria (top chambers of the heart). This impulse travels to the atrium and down the ventricles (lower chambers) of the heart in an orderly way. With AF, there are abnormally fast and disorganized impulses stimulating the atria. These impulses begin all together and go in different directions causing irregular, rapid, disordered, and ineffective heartbeats. When your heart beats this way, you may have problems with the flow of blood in your body. Blood clots may form and cause angina (chest pain), heart attack, or a stroke.
  • During a minimally invasive maze procedure, small incisions (cuts) are made in your chest. Caregivers will insert special tools and an endoscope through these incisions to do the procedure. An endoscope is a long metal tube with a light and tiny video camera on the end. This gives caregivers a clear view of your heart while watching the images on a monitor. During this procedure, a maze is created where the electrical impulse will take only one path. This maze is done by making and sewing incisions on the left and right atrium to form scar tissues. These scar tissues will stop abnormal electrical signals from stimulating the atrium. Your caregiver may also use freezing substances, or radiowave, microwave, or ultrasound energy to make these scars. Once the abnormal impulses are blocked or redirected, a normal heart rhythm may be restored. With minimally invasive maze procedure, atrial fibrillation may be treated and quality of life improved.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Lifestyle changes:

  • Do not drink alcohol: Some people should not drink alcohol. These people include those with certain medical conditions or who take medicine that interacts with alcohol. Alcohol includes beer, wine, and liquor. Tell your caregiver if you drink alcohol. Ask him to help you stop drinking.
  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help.
  • Rest: Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.

Wound care:

When you are allowed to bathe or shower, carefully wash the incisions with soap and water. Afterwards, put on clean, new bandages. Change your bandages any time they get wet or dirty. Ask your caregivers for more information about wound care.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
  • You have redness, discharge, or pain in the incision area or where the catheter was inserted.
  • You have questions or concerns about your endoscopic maze procedure, illness, or medicine.


  • Call 911 or an ambulance if you have any signs of a heart attack:
    • Discomfort in the center of your chest that feels like squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain, that lasts for more than a few minutes or keeps returning
    • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or one or both of your arms
    • Feeling sick to your stomach
    • Having trouble breathing
    • A sudden cold sweat, particularly in combination with chest discomfort or trouble breathing
    • Feeling very lightheaded or dizzy, particularly in combination with chest discomfort or trouble breathing
  • You have signs of a stroke: The following signs are an emergency. Call 911 immediately if you have any of the following:
    • Weakness or numbness in your arm, leg, or face (may be on only one side of your body)
    • Confusion and problems speaking or understanding speech
    • A very bad headache that may feel like the worst headache of your life
    • Not being able to see out of one or both of your eyes
    • Feeling too dizzy to stand
  • There is bleeding, increased bruising, and swelling in the incision area or where the catheter was inserted.
  • Your leg used for the catheterization becomes cold, numb, pale, or is very painful.
  • Your signs and symptoms come back or get worse.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.