From January 1991 until May 1992, a total of 14 patients (mean age 48 years) underwent the maze procedure for refractory atrial fibrillation (mean duration, 7 years; mean number of antiarrhythmic medications, six). Three patients had had embolic events, one patient had had a cardiac arrest from flecainide, one had pulmonary fibrosis from amiodarone, and six of ten who were employed were temporarily disabled. Two patients underwent successful mitral valve repair in which the maze procedure was added as a secondary goal of the operation. Postoperative fluid retention was a problem in five patients (36%). Six patients (43%) were temporarily treated with an antiarrhythmic medication. Two patients (14%) with preoperative sick sinus syndrome required pacemakers. One patient was discharged from the hospital but died suddenly less than 1 month after the operation (7% operative mortality) of hyperkalemia caused by acute renal failure. All patients beyond 3 postoperative months (100% 'cure') are receiving no antiarrhythmic medications, have sinus rhythm, or have p-wave tracking with ventricular pacing. Atrial contraction has been documented by cinegraphic magnetic resonance imaging studies and by Doppler echocardiography performed when sinus rhythm had resumed. The maze procedure is an extensive operation but is indicated for selected patients who have the severe sequelae of atrial fibrillation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine