Atrial fibrillation represents the most common supraventricular arrhythmia above all in patients undergoing cardiac surgery and is associated to an augmented risk of thromboembolic stroke, heart failure, and cardiovascular mortality. That is the reason why cardiac surgeons began to address their attention to how to surgically treat fibrillating patients according to pathophysiological models describing mechanisms of arrhythmia induction and maintenance. A new branch of cardiac surgery was born, leading to a progressive development of adapted surgical ablation techniques, applicable both to lone or concomitant arrhythmia treatment. Historical evolution and current available surgical treatment options are described, beginning from the first pure surgical maze, going through all its modifications in source ablation energies and lesion sets and finishing with current mini-invasive hybrid treatment of lone atrial fibrillation. Indications, patients’ selection, technical options with respective advantages and disadvantages, surgical technique details, complications, and results are fully illustrated. Relationship between pathophysiologic arrhythmia mechanisms and the consequent ablation tailored procedure choice is highlighted, allowing a customized procedural offer to every single patient, resulting in a success rate ranging from 60 to 90%.
Part of the book: Cardiac Arrhythmias