Central Valley patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation no longer have to leave the area to benefit from a new treatment option – the Maze procedure – that is now available at Saint Agnes. Atrial fibrillation, an abnormality of the heart’s electrical system that causes the upper chambers of the heart to quiver rapidly, occurs when the heart’s electrical impulse is sidetracked from its normal path. Rather than sending an even signal to trigger the atrium to contract all at once, multiple signals are sent to different regions of the atrium, causing it to contract irregularly. During the Maze procedure, cardiothoracic surgeons make a number of incisions on the left and right atrium to form scar tissue, which disrupts the path of abnormal electrical impulses and prevents erratic electrical signals from recurring. Once the incisions are made, the atrium is sewn back together, resulting in what looks like a maze in which there is only one path for the electrical impulse to take. The Maze procedure is typically performed in conjunction with open-heart surgery and is elemental in keeping patients from returning to the hospital for further atrial fibrillation treatment.
For more information about Saint Agnes Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular services, visit www.samc.com/heart.