CardioSpecialists Group, Ltd.
About the Cox-Maze Procedure

What Is a Cox-Maze Procedure?

The heart is an electrically controlled muscle. Impulses are sent to the heart which tell the muscle when to contract and relax. When something goes wrong with these electrical signals, your heart rate can become erratic. If one or both of the top chambers of your heart do not contract efficiently, but seem to flutter, it is called atrial fibrillation.  If you have problems with atrial fibrillation, your doctor might discuss the possibility of using the Cox-Maze procedure to correct the faulty electrical signals in your heart. This is typically done in conjunction with other procedures such as valve repair or replacement or other heart surgeries.

How Is the Procedure Performed?

This is an open heart procedure. Your chest will be opened so that the doctor can reach your heart. You will be connected to a heart lung machine in order to continue to supply your body with oxygenated blood. The doctor will scar the tissue on the outside of your heart in a maze pattern. He might use any of a number of techniques to make the scars: cutting, freezing, or heating the tissue. As the electrical impulses travel around these scars to your heart, their pattern is regulated.

Your doctor might also choose to remove a portion of one of your atria.   You will be removed from the heart-lung machine, and a drainage tube left in your heart after it is closed to prevent a build up of fluids from the surgery. With the completion of the procedure, your chest will be closed and sewn shut. Since this is an open heart procedure, you will have to stay for several days in the hospital afterwards. If you have any questions about the Cox-Maze procedure, talk to your doctor.

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