Surgical Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation: A Look into the Future

Ralph J. Damiano, Richard B. Schuessler, Rochus K. Voeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation began in 1987, when Dr. James Cox introduced the maze procedure. This operation proved to be extremely effective in curing atrial fibrillation and preventing its most dreaded complication, stroke. However, many surgeons found the operation to be too difficult and invasive. Over the last 5 to 10 years, various groups have tried to develop less invasive approaches using a number of different energy sources to create linear lines of ablation to replace the surgical incisions. This has led to a plethora of new operations for this arrhythmia. There is significant confusion in the literature at the present time as to what is the best lesion pattern and what is the best energy source. It is our feeling that a great deal of this confusion is due to our lack of understanding of the mechanisms of atrial fibrillation and the effect of ablation technology on atrial hemodynamics and electrophysiology. Future progress will require a better understanding of this arrhythmia and continued research into the safety and efficacy of ablation devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007


  • Cox maze procedure
  • atrial fibrillation
  • atrial function
  • radiofrequency ablation


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