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Northwestern Memorial's Heart Center Pioneers Minimally Invasive Surgery That Corrects Irregular Heart Beat
Date:2/12/2008

ster recovery, shorter length of stay in the hospital, lower infection rates, and less trauma than traditional cardiac surgery. Together with Jeffrey J. Goldberger, MD, director of Cardiac Electrophysiology and medical director of the Center for Atrial Fibrillation, Dr. Lee has pioneered a minimally invasive Hybrid Maze procedure which is done in two stages.

"It is through the strength of each procedure and a multidisciplinary team of outstanding clinicians that we offer a two-tiered approach to our patients," states Dr. Goldberger. "The electrophysiologists and cardiac surgeons at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute spend time getting to know each patient and understand the specific characteristics of their atrial fibrillation."

Stage I

Abnormal electrical signals around the pulmonary veins and in the heart are thought to be the cause atrial fibrillation. During Stage I of the Hybrid Maze, small incisions are made on the sides of the chest to access and place scar lines around the pulmonary veins. A tiny camera is inserted through one of the small incisions which gives the cardiac surgeon a clear view of the veins and eliminates the need for the large incision in the traditional Maze procedure. The heart is beating during the procedure, as opposed to the traditional Maze where the heart would be on bypass. The scar lines, made via an energy source such as radiofrequency, cryo, laser, ultrasound, and microwave, isolate abnormal electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation and re-route the path of the electrical signals. After Stage I, the patient returns home and is monitored for approximately one month to see if the atrial fibrillation returns. Stage I can be up to 90 percent effective for certain types of atrial fibrillation. Patients with other types of atrial fibrillation may require Stage II.

Stage II

For Stage II patients undergo catheter ablation, which is a non-surgical and minimally invasive treatment that involv
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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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