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MAZE Procedure for A-fib

Our surgeons use advanced, minimally invasive techniques to treat atrial fibrillation (A-fib).

Why choose UPMC in Central Pa. for your MAZE procedure?

When you choose UPMC in Central Pa. for your MAZE procedure, you will receive expert care from some of the region's most experienced cardiovascular surgeons who treat all types of irregular heart rhythms. Our surgeons perform hundreds of MAZE procedures each year using the latest technology and techniques.

We are at the forefront of developing MAZE techniques that can improve patient outcomes and shorten recovery time. Our surgeons can perform MAZE procedures during other complex open surgical procedures. And, UPMC in Central Pa. is one of only a few medical centers in the nation to offer total thoracoscopic MAZE, which combines a traditional MAZE procedure with advanced mapping techniques to provide increased surgical precision and improved patient outcomes.

What is a MAZE procedure?

During a MAZE procedure, your surgeon will make several incisions on the left and right atriums of your heart to form scar tissue. The presence of scar tissue will "disconnect" the electrical impulses that cause A-fib.

Concomitant MAZE Procedure

When a MAZE procedure is performed during open-heart bypass surgery or valve surgery, it is called a "concomitant MAZE." Our surgeons are experts at performing complex open surgical procedures along with MAZE procedures.

Thoracoscopic MAZE Procedure

UPMC in Central Pa. is one of just a few medical centers in the nation that offers total thoracoscopic MAZE. During thoracoscopic MAZE, real-time mapping techniques are used to locate the sources of A-fib so your surgeon can perform an immediate repair at the origin of the abnormal electrical signals.

This procedure is known as a "closed-chest, beating-heart procedure," meaning that use of the heart-lung bypass machine is not required and your sternum does not need to be broken and separated. The result is often a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of infection when compared to open-heart surgery.

Thoracoscopic MAZE is performed through small keyhole incisions made between your ribs using a tiny camera and video-guided instruments. When appropriate, robots are used to assist the surgeon during the procedure.

Thoracoscopic MAZE has been shown to be 90 percent effective at maintaining a normal heartbeat without the use of any anti-arrhythmic medications a full year after the surgery for all types of A-fib.

What happens during a MAZE procedure?

Your MAZE procedure will be performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, several incisions are made on the left and right atriums of your heart to form scar tissue.

Because the scar tissue does not conduct electricity, it will disrupt the path of the electrical impulses that cause your abnormal heart rhythm. The scar tissue also prevents erratic electrical signals from recurring. After the incisions are made, your atrium is sewn together to allow it to hold blood and contract to push blood into your ventricle.

What can I expect after a MAZE procedure?

You will be taken to the recovery room for observation or returned to your hospital room where a nurse will monitor your vital signs. The length of your hospital stay will depend on whether you had a concomitant MAZE or a thoracoscopic MAZE. Because thoracoscopic MAZE procedures are less invasive than concomitant MAZE procedures, patients who have thoracoscopic MAZE procedures usually have a shorter hospital stay.

How long does it take to recover after a MAZE procedure?

The length of your recovery will depend on whether you had a thoracoscopic MAZE procedure or a concomitant MAZE procedure. The recovery time is generally shorter for patients who have a thoracoscopic MAZE. Your doctor will let you know when you can return to your normal activities and will schedule you for a follow-up appointment after your procedure.


Need more information?

Call the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute 717-231-8555.

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UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Brady Building
205 South Front Street
4th floor
Harrisburg, PA 17104

Phone: 717-231-8555
Fax: 717-231-8568

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