Q: How does the Maze treatment for atrial fibrillation work, and what does it involve?
A: The Maze procedure is open heart surgery to eliminate rapid heartbeats. It involves making a series of incisions in the top portion of the heart, the atria. In experienced hands, the procedure is successful in more than 90 percent of patients. A far less invasive option, ablation, utilizes heart catheterization for the same purpose. While its success rates are somewhat lower (60 percent to 75 percent), catheter ablation is often recommended unless the patient is scheduled for surgery to bypass a clogged vessel or correct a valve during which the Maze procedure can also be performed. To find an expert near you, visit hrsonline.org.