Surgery for atrial fibrillation

James Lewis Cox*, Richard B. Schuessler, Michael E. Cain, Peter B. Corr, Constance M. Stone, Harry J. D'Agostino, Atsushi Harada, Byung Chul Chang, Peter K. Smith, John P. Boineau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The observations made under controlled experimental conditions provided us with a clearer understanding of the mechanisms involved in the generation and perpetuation of atrial fibrillation. The magnitude and rapidity of change that occurs in the activation patterns during atrial fibrillation were not appreciated, however, until the arrhythmia was studied in similar detail in humans. These studies provided the scientific basis for devising a surgical treatment for atrial fibrillation that has been successful in three patients. By converting the atrial fibrillation to normal sinus rhythm, all three of the detrimental sequelae of atrial fibrillation have been alleviated in each of these patients. Despite the fact that these clinical results are preliminary at this point, our experience documents that atrial fibrillation can be cured by surgical means. In the absence of other effective forms of therapy and in view of the devastating complications of the arrhythmia, surgical intervention should be considered a viable option for the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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