Maze Procedure

In rare cases, atrial fibrillation (Afib) doesn’t respond to medication or electrophysiology procedures. Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular can offer a solution.

One of the country’s leading experts in surgical atrial fibrillation ablation – a procedure called the maze procedure – is right here in Portland. Thomas Molloy, MD, is well-recognized for a minimally invasive, robotically assisted approach to treating atrial fibrillation and has a published track record of excellent outcomes.

Maze procedure for atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation may be controlled with medication, or it may require catheter-based intervention (see electrophysiology). If these treatments do not resolve symptoms, surgery may be an option.

This surgery is called the maze procedure. Dr. Molloy uses robotic assistance to perform this minimally invasive procedure without having to open the chest.

Benefits of the minimally invasive maze procedure

  • Smaller incisions than open-heart surgery.
  • Less risk of complications.
  • Lower chance of infection.
  • Shorter hospital stays.

Steps of the robotic maze procedure

  1. The surgeon inserts a tiny camera (endoscope) and specialized robotic instruments through small incisions on the side of the chest.
  2. Cryotherapy (freezing) or radiofrequency energy (heating) is used to form scar tissue, which does not conduct electricity. The precision-placed pattern (or “maze”) of scarring disrupts the path of abnormal electrical impulses.
  3. The atrial appendage (an unnecessary pocket-like section of the left atrium, from which most clots in Afib patients come) may also be closed to decrease the risk of future stroke.

Surgical ablation may be performed alone. It may also be combined with other heart surgery, if necessary and appropriate.

The Northwest Regional Afib difference

At Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular, patients undergoing standalone surgical ablation are in the hospital for an average of three days. The maze procedure’s effectiveness depends on the type of Afib and other patient-specific factors. Our success rates range from 80% to 95% — often better than the national average. Learn more about how our data compares to national averages.

You may be a candidate for the minimally invasive maze surgery for Afib if your symptoms have not responded to catheter-based ablation or you are not a good candidate for catheter ablation due to certain medical conditions.

Patient Story

During a checkup with his primary care doctor, Michael Healy found out his pulse was elevated and his heartbeat irregular. Read his patient story.

To learn more about Dr. Molloy and his team’s approach to treating Afib, or to get a second opinion about your options, call us at 503-261-4430.

NWRHV Heart Surgery

Learn more about how Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular uses evidence-based procedures and surgeries to help restore your heart’s health with the least invasive treatments.

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