The principle of this procedure is to isolate the left and right pulmonary veins using a clamp that is designed to injure the electrical continuity between the pulmonary veins and the heart, just like the catheter ablation strategy.
The advantage of surgical based therapies lies in the fact that a more visually guided and thorough ablation can be performed. In addition, obliteration of clot forming zones within the heart such as the left atrial appendage can be performed very safely. Access is via small telescopic incisions placed on either side of the chest. For the treatment of paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation, a heart lung machine is not required. When AF becomes more persistent in nature, or in patients in the early phase of permanent Atrial Fibrillation, a more aggressive keyhole therapy may be considered using the heart-lung machine.
The procedure includes further ablation lines in addition to pulmonary vein isolation and is rightly called a Maze Procedure.
The risk of Atrial Fibrillation ablation in experienced hands is not high, considering that Atrial Fibrillation ablation itself has a recognized morbidity and mortality associated with its continued presence. In other countries, catheter and surgical ablation is much more aggressively performed than in the United Kingdom.
If you wish to discuss treatment of atrial fibrillation you should speak to your GP or cardiologist. alternatively, you can contact