Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a condition where the upper chambers of the heart (atria) beat out of sync. It happens when the electrical impulses that control contraction are faulty. This fast, irregular heart rhythm can reduce the heart’s ability to effectively pump blood. Blood may pool which can lead to blood clots. These clots can travel to other places in the body causing stroke and other medical issues.
Multiple treatments are available for patients with AFib. Some mild cases may be treated by medication. Others may require minimally-invasive treatment performed by an electrophysiologist (a doctor who specializes in heart rhythm disorders). In cases where a patient already requires open-heart surgery for another condition (e.g. coronary artery disease or heart valve disease), our cardiac surgeons can perform the MAZE procedure. The surgeon uses special instruments both on the outside and inside of the heart that disrupt abnormal electrical pathways to help the heart beat in a normal rhythm.