Successful Surgical Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation: Review and Clinical Update

James Lewis Cox*, John P. Boineau, Richard B. Schuessler, T. Bruce Ferguson, Michael E. Cain, Bruce D. Lindsay, Peter B. Corr, Kathy M. Kater, Demetrios G. Lappas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

243 Scopus citations


Atrial fibrillation is the most common of all sustained cardiac arrhythmias, yet it has no effective medical or surgical therapy. During the past decade, multipoint computerized electrophysiological mapping systems were used to map both experimental and human atrial fibrillation. On the basis of these studies, a new surgical procedure was developed for atrial fibrillation. Between September 25, 1987, and July 1,1991, this procedure was applied in 22 patients with paroxysmal atrial flutter (n = 2), paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (n = 11), or chronic atrial fibrillation (n = 9) of 2 to 21 years’ duration. All patients were refractory to all antiarrhythmic medications, and each patient failed to receive the desired therapeutic benefits of an average of five drugs administered preoperatively. There were no operative deaths and all perioperative morbidity resolved. All 22 patients have been successfully treated for atrial fibrillation with surgery alone. Three patients developed one late isolated episode of atrial flutter at 5, 6, and 15 months postoperatively, and each of these patient’s symptoms is now controlled by a single antiarrhythmic drug. Preservation of atrial transport function has been documented in all patients postoperatively, and all have experienced marked clinical improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1976-1980
Number of pages5
JournalJAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 9 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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