The Cox-maze IV procedure in its second decade: Still the gold standard?

Chawannuch Ruaengsri, Matthew R. Schill, Ali J. Khiabani, Richard B. Schuessler, Spencer J. Melby, Ralph J. Damiano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and the treatment options include medical treatment and catheter-based or surgical interventions. AF is a major cause of stroke, and its prevalence is increasing. The surgical treatment of AF has been revolutionized over the past 2 decades through surgical innovation and improvements in endoscopic imaging, ablation technology and surgical instrumentation. The Cox-maze (CM) procedure, which was developed by James Cox and introduced clinically in 1987, is a procedure in which multiple incisions are created in both the left and the right atria to eliminate AF while allowing the sinus impulse to reach the atrioventricular node. This procedure became the gold standard for the surgical treatment of AF. Its latest iteration is termed the CMIV and was introduced in 2002. The CM IV replaced the previous cutand- sew method (CM III) by replacing most of the incisions with a combination of bipolar radiofrequency and cryoablation. The use of ablation technologies, made the CM IV technically easier, faster and more amenable to minimally invasive approaches. The aims of this article are to review the indications and preoperative planning for the CM IV, to describe the operative technique and to review the literature including comparisons of the CMIV with the previous cut-and-sewmethod. Finally, this review explores future directions for the surgical treatment of patients with AF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)I19-I25
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cardiac surgery
  • Cox-maze
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Surgical ablation


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