Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects several million patients worldwide and is associated with a number of heart conditions, particularly coronary artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, hypertension, and congestive heart failure. The treatment of AF and its complications is quite costly. Atrial fibrillation usually results from multiple macro-re-entrant circuits in the left atrium. Very frequently, particularly in association with mitral valve disease, these circuits arise from the area of the junction of the pulmonary venous endothelium and the left atrial endocardium. Pharmacological therapy is at best 50% effective. Therapeutic options for AF include antiarrhythmic drugs, cardioversion, atrioventricular (A-V) node block, pacemaker insertion, and ablative surgery. In 1987, Cox developed an effective surgical procedure to achieve ablation. Current ablative procedures include the classic cut-and-sew Maze operation or a modification of it, namely through catheter ablation, namely, cryoablation, radiofrequency ablation (dry or irrigated), and other forms of ablation (e.g., laser, microwave). These procedures will be described, along with the indications, advantages and disadvantages of each. Special emphasis on the alternative means to cutting and sewing to achieve appropriate effective atrial scars will be stressed, and our experience with these approaches in 50 patients with AF and associated cardiac lesions and their outcomes is presented.
Atrial Fibrillation Pulmonary Vein Left Atrium Coronary Sinus Atrial Flutter
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