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FOR SOME PATIENTS WITH atrial fibrillation (AF) and no coronary artery or valvular heart disease, a minimally invasive cauterization procedure called Mini-Maze is showing promise for curing the dysrhythmia without the need for sternotomy or cardiopulmonary bypass.
The Mini-Maze is based on the Maze procedure, which is open-heart surgery involving multiple carefully placed incisions in the left atrium. These incisions are sewn back together, generating mazelike scar tissue that force aberrant electrical signals to follow a more direct path to the ventricles. Another Maze version involved ablating tissue around the four pulmonary veins. Because of the open sternotomy, the surgeon doing a Maze procedure could also perform coronary artery bypass grafting or valve surgery if necessary.
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