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Reasons for Procedure
- Anesthesia-related problems
- The need for a permanent pacemaker
- Kidney or other organ failure
- Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity
- The use of certain medications
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam, including blood and urine tests
- Chest x-ray —makes pictures of structures inside the chest using a small amount of radiation
- Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)—a test that records the heart’s activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle
Talk to your doctor about your medicines, including over-the-counter medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, aspirin )
- Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), or ticlopidine (Ticlid)
- Arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital. Also, have someone help you at home.
- Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
- If you smoke, it is best to stop.
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Fluids and pain medicine will be given through an IV line. You may be given medicine to help control build up of fluids.
- Efforts will be made to get you out of bed and walking as soon as possible.
- You will be asked to do deep breathing and coughing exercises. This will help reduce the risk of fluid build up in your lungs.
- If a pacemaker was placed, you will be given instruction on its care.
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incisions
- Rest when needed. At first, it is normal to feel more tired than usual.
- Walk daily. Activity will help with the healing process.
- Take the pain medicine as directed. Some pain medicine causes constipation. To prevent this, drink plenty of fluids and eat high-fiber foods.
- Keep the incision area clean and dry.
- Limit certain activities (eg, driving, working, doing strenuous exercise) until you have recovered.
Call Your Doctor
- Cough or shortness of breath
- New chest pain
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Palpitations or rapid heart rate
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Coughing up blood
- Headache or feeling faint
- Inability to urinate
- Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
- Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
- Other worrisome symptoms
- Sudden chest pain
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Problems with vision or speaking
- Numbness or weakness on one side of your body
Heart Rhythm Society http://www.hrsonline.org/
Society of Thoracic doctors http://www.sts.org/
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
Maze procedure for treatment of atrial fibrillation. University of Southern California, Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.cts.usc.edu/mazeprocedure.html. Accessed March 12 , 2010.
Maze surgery. Texas Heart institute website. Available at: http://www.texasheartinstitute.org/HIC/Topics/Proced/mazes.cfm. Updated August 2009. Accessed March 12, 2010
Patient information: the maze procedure. Society of Thoracic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.sts.org/doc/4511. Updated June 2000. Accessed March 3 , 2010.
A patient’s guide to heart surgery. University of Southern California, Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.cts.usc.edu/hpg-index.html. March 12, 2010.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 01/27/2014 -