Creating scar tissue to disrupt faulty electrical signals in the heart

A convergent procedure, also known as a MAZE procedure, aggressively treats atrial fibrillation (AFib), a frequently frustrating heart rhythm disorder. MAZE procedures use two types of cardiac ablation to create a pattern, or MAZE, of scar tissue in the heart to disrupt misfiring electrical signals causing your abnormal heart rhythm. A convergent procedure is a less invasive option than a surgical MAZE procedure.

Your doctor may recommend this procedure if your atrial fibrillation is not well controlled with medication or if you’ve had a previous traditional cardiac ablation that did not solve the problem. Our cardiac surgeons collaborate with our electrophysiologists to perform this complex procedure.

Procedure

Image of a doctor in an OR performing a MAZE procedure

You will be given general anesthesia to put you to sleep during the surgery. A cardiac surgeon will make a small incision in the chest and place a scope beneath the breastbone, allowing the team to see the heart during the procedure. The electrophysiologist will insert an ablation device to send a mild, painless burst of heat or cold in order to create a pattern of scar tissue on the epicardium, the protective outer layer of the heart.

Once the epicardial ablation is completed, the incision will be closed. The electrophysiologist will then perform a traditional catheter ablation, in which they will thread an ablation catheter through a blood vessel in the arm or groin to the heart to scar the endocardium, or inside layer of the heart. You’ll likely need to stay in the hospital for two to three days after the procedure for recovery and monitoring.

Tests

Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall. 

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Event Monitors

An event monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but where an electrocardiogram takes place over a few minutes, an event monitor measures heart rhythms over a much longer time.

Holter Monitors

A Holter monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but whereas an electrocardiogram records over a few minutes, a Holter monitor records over the course of a day or two.

Stress Tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.

Our locations

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MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

Read our Cardiovascular Performance & Outcomes Booklet

Ask MHVI

Have questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net.