Successful performance of cox-maze procedure on beating heart using bipolar radiofrequency ablation: A feasibility study in animals

Sydney L. Gaynor, Yosuke Ishii, Michael D. Diodato, Sunil M. Prasad, Kara M. Barnett, Nicholas R. Damiano, Gregory D. Byrd, Samuel A. Wickline, Richard B. Schuessler, Ralph J. Damiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background The Cox-Maze procedure is the gold standard for the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation with proven long-term efficacy. However, its application has been limited by its complexity and significant morbidity. The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility and safety of performing the Cox-Maze procedure using bipolar radiofrequency ablation on the beating heart without cardiopulmonary bypass. Methods After median sternotomy, 6 Hanford mini-pigs underwent a modified Cox-Maze procedure using bipolar radiofrequency energy. The animals survived for 30 days. Atrial function, coronary artery, pulmonary vein anatomy, and valve function were assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. At reoperation, pacing documented electrical isolation of the pulmonary veins. Induction of atrial fibrillation was attempted by burst pacing with cholinergic stimulation. Histologic assessment was performed after sacrifice. Results There were no perioperative mortalities or neurologic events. At 30 days, atrial fibrillation was unable to be induced, and pulmonary vein isolation was confirmed by pacing. Magnetic resonance imaging assessment revealed no coronary artery or pulmonary vein stenoses. Although atrial ejection fraction decreased slightly from 0.344 ± 0.0114 to 0.300 ± 0.055 (p = 0.18), atrial contractility was preserved in every animal. Histologic assessment showed all lesions to be transmural, and there were no significant stenoses of the coronary vessels or injuries to the valves. Conclusions Virtually all of the lesions of the Cox-Maze procedure can be performed without cardiopulmonary bypass using bipolar radiofrequency energy. There were no late stenoses of the pulmonary veins. Clinical trials of this new technology on the beating heart are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1671-1677
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2004


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