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MAZE Procedures
March 2003

Q. Can you tell me how many MAZE procedures are performed in the U.S. for Atrial Fibrillation?

A. The MAZE procedure, also called the Cox Maze procedure, is a surgical treatment for rhythm disturbances originating in the atrial area of the heart. Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia which requires some treatment as it has a significant risk for stroke and blood clots.

Initial treatment of the condition is most commonly done with medication to control the heart rate, and anti-coagulants (blood thinners) to reduce the risk of clots. In patients who have complications despite medical therapy, surgical treatment is a consideration.

The Maze procedure makes an incision in the atria which interrupts the transmission of the abnormal electrical impulse that cause the arrhythmia. It is often done in conjunction with other cardiac procedures such as a valve replacement or coronary bypass. I have not seen national figures for the frequency of the procedure, but large referral centers such as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic each perform about 30 such operations per year.



Published references:

Schaff HV, Dearani JA, Daly RC, Orszulak TA, Danielson GK. Cox-Maze procedure for atrial fibrillation: Mayo Clinic experience. Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2000 Jan;12(1):30-7. Review. PMID: 10746920 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

McCarthy PM, Gillinov AM, Castle L, Chung M, Cosgrove D 3rd. The Cox-Maze procedure: the Cleveland Clinic experience. Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2000 Jan;12(1):25-9. PMID: 10746919 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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