The Brain and Spine Institute is made up of experts in the field of neuroscience in order to bring patients the best healthcare in East Tennessee for a full range of neurological diseases and disorders.
The University of Tennessee Medical Center offers the Mini-Maze procedure, a type of minimally invasive surgery that brings hope to atrial fibrillation patients for whom no reasonable cure existed.
More than two million people in the United States suffer from atrial fibrillation (AFib or AF), reports the American Heart Association. There are more than 300,000 new cases of atrial fibrillation diagnosed each year. Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke fivefold and is a major contributor to the development of congestive heart failure as well as more serious, life-threatening arrhythmias.
The Mini-Maze procedure can correct atrial fibrillation, a common form of heart rhythm abnormality and a major cause of stroke. Experience to date indicates that the Mini-Maze surgery eliminates atrial fibrillation in more than 85 percent of patients who undergo the surgery.
The procedure, also called the Wolf MiniMaze, was developed by Randall Wolf, MD, from University Hospital in Cincinnati. It is performed using minimally invasive devices all navigated by a miniature camera so physicians can see and operate on the heart without making large incisions in the chest. Patients can return to normal activity more quickly after the procedure and note less pain than with the traditional approach. In fact, hospital stays often are only two days instead of seven days or longer with conventional surgery.
The Mini-Maze procedure involves the use of thoracoscopy, whereby a video telescope is inserted into the chest and instruments specially designed for the procedure are inserted via small ports or “keyhole” incisions. This means there are only small incisions and no division of bones or spreading of ribs. Surgeons are able to burn lines in the heart, isolating areas where the irregular signal starts. The damaged tissue can no longer conduct electrical impulses, interrupting the transmission of the abnormal signal and allowing the rest of the chamber to resume beating normally. In addition the left atrial appendage, a fingerlike structure where clots form, is removed. This significantly reduces the stroke risk faced by patients on a daily basis.
Currently, the most common treatment for atrial fibrillation is anticoagulant drugs, which do not address the abnormal heart beat but instead are used to prevent the formation of blood clots. Other treatments include catheter-based procedures and various surgeries are available. However, they are difficult to perform and carry increased risks.
Possible side effects of the Mini-Maze surgery may include inflammation of the veins, inflammation of the thin layer of tissue around the heart, a collapsed lung, damage to the heart or blood vessels and long-term shortness of breath.
If you require atrial fibrillation surgery, you might be a candidate for Mini-Maze.
Talk to your doctor about the Mini-Maze procedure. Request an appointment today by calling 865.246.2230
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm caused by abnormal electrical impulses that begin at the top of the heart and travel down the upper chambers (atria).
2. In Mini-Maze surgery, doctors use a very precise instrument that fits around the top of the atrium and destroys a small amount of tissue in the area near where the irregular impulses start.
3. The damaged tissue can no longer conduct electrical signals, thereby interrupting the transmission of the impulses.