For two decades, the cut-and-sew Cox-maze III procedure was the gold standard for the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) and has proven to be effective at eliminating AF. The incidence of late stroke was also very low. However, this procedure was not widely adopted owing to its complexity and technical difficulty. Over the last 5-10 years, the introduction of new ablation technology has led to the development of the Cox-maze IV procedure as well as more limited lesion sets, with the ultimate goal of performing a minimally invasive lesion set on the beating heart without the need for cardiopulmonary bypass. This review summarizes the current state of the art and future directions in the stand-alone surgical treatment of AF. The hope is that as more is learned about the mechanisms of AF and with better preoperative diagnostic technologies capable of precisely locating the areas responsible for AF, it will become possible to tailor specific lesion sets and ablation modalities to individual patients, making the surgical treatment of AF available to a larger population of patients.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Cox-maze procedure