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Minimally Invasive Maze Procedure


A minimally invasive maze procedure is an endoscopic surgery done to treat atrial fibrillation.


The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Dye may be used during your surgery to help healthcare providers see the blood vessels better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • You may be asked to stop smoking. Ask your healthcare provider for more information if you need help quitting.
  • You may need to stop driving, lifting heavy things, or doing strenuous or tiring activities.
  • You may need to have an EKG, electrophysiologic studies (EPS), or transthoracic and transesophageal electrocardiogram (TEE). You may also need to have a cardiac catheterization, CT scan, chest x-ray, and blood tests. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
  • Your healthcare provider may give you heart medicines to help control your irregular heartbeat. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these medicines.

The night before your surgery:

  • You may be given medicine to help you sleep.
  • Ask healthcare providers about directions for eating and drinking.
  • Your bowel may need to be emptied and cleaned out before your surgery. Healthcare providers may give you a liquid medicine called an enema. This will be put into your rectum to help empty your bowel. Your healthcare provider will teach you how to do this.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your healthcare provider before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Providers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
  • Healthcare providers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

  • An endotracheal tube (ET) connected to a breathing machine may be put into your mouth or nose. The tube is used to keep your airway open and help you breathe during surgery. Your surgeon may need to insert a pulmonary artery catheter to see how well your heart is working. A catheter is a tube that is threaded into your heart through a blood vessel in your chest, neck, arm, or leg. Another tube with a small ultrasound sensor on the end may also be moved down into your esophagus. This will allow your healthcare provider to see your heart clearly.
  • Your healthcare provider will make a small incision in your chest to insert the endoscope through. Two smaller incisions are also made between the ribs to insert the other instruments. Small incisions will be made in the right and left atria (upper chambers) of your heart and then sewn closed. This will form scar tissue and a maze where the impulses can travel in only one direction. Your surgeon may also use freezing substances, or radiowave, microwave, or ultrasound energy to create these scar tissues. The openings and incisions in your chest are then closed with stitches and staples. A bandage is placed over your incision to control bleeding.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room. Healthcare providers may leave you connected to a ventilator (breathing machine) after surgery to give you oxygen. You may have the ET tube removed after you are awake and can breathe well on your own. The catheter inserted for the procedure may be removed and a tight pressure bandage will cover the incision. A healthcare provider may remove the bandages soon after surgery to check your wound.


  • You cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
    • and any of the following:
      • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
      • Shortness of breath
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat
  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
    • Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
    • Weakness in an arm or leg
    • Confusion or difficulty speaking
    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss


  • Problems may happen during this surgery that may lead to an open chest surgery. During this surgery, your heartbeat may stop. This may decrease blood flow further and lead to a heart attack. A blood vessel or your atria may get injured, causing a large amount of blood loss. You could also have trouble breathing, an infection, or bleed more than expected after this surgery.
  • Without treatment, your symptoms such as a fast heartbeat, trouble breathing, getting tired easily, and other heart problems may worsen. Reduced blood flow or a blood clot may lead to serious and life-threatening conditions. These conditions may include angina (chest pain), heart attack, or a stroke.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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