Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained cardiac rhythm disturbance, affecting an estimated 2.5 million people in the United States. Atrial fibrillation may occur with or without structural heart disease. The medical and surgical literature has seen an exponential growth in reports of ablation techniques and the Cox-Maze procedure to treat atrial fibrillation. There has been no agreement or standards on the proper reporting of these techniques and results. The current literature is in disarray, and this report is an attempt to provide a framework for the necessary elements to be included in reports on this subject. The Workforce on Evidence Based Surgery of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons encourages the adoption of these guidelines for reporting clinical results derived from patients undergoing surgical procedures for atrial fibrillation. Adoption of these guidelines will greatly facilitate the comparison between the reported experiences of various authors treating different cohorts of patients at different times with different techniques and energy sources. These guidelines are also appropriate for catheter-based treatment of atrial fibrillation. Thus, more reliable evaluation and comparisons of results will advance our knowledge and further the development and application of these procedures.