During maze surgery, surgeons create a “maze” of new electrical pathways in the heart to allow impulses to travel more easily. Surgeons construct these pathways by using an ablation energy source to create scar tissue. The scar tissue blocks the electrical signals that are causing the irregular heartbeat, allowing the normal signals to function properly.
The maze procedure is typically performed on patients who need open heart surgery for another reason, such as a heart valve repair or replacement. If a patient only needs treatment for atrial fibrillation, then it may be treated by catheter ablation instead, a less invasive procedure. This procedure may also be suggested if the less invasive procedures will not be as effective for the patient’s particular condition.