The Mini-Maze procedure provides an alternative to conventional catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF). It may be used in patients with chronic, persistent AF. This technique is performed in collaboration with cardiothoracic surgeons and is used to interrupt the electrical pathways in the upper chambers of the heart, converting AF to a normal rhythm.
This minimally invasive surgery uses an ablation technique to create a “maze” of lesions in specific areas of the heart. Accessing the heart from between the ribs, the surgeon uses brief bursts of radiofrequency energy to cauterize the tissue. These cauterized areas no longer conduct electrical impulses, which interrupts the transmission of the abnormal signals and allows the rest of the heart to resume beating normally.
At UC San Diego Health System, research has shown this treatment to be curative in approximately 85 percent of atrial fibrillation patients.