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Surgical AFib Treatment Options

The cardiology and electrophysiology experts in the atrial fibrillation (AFib) program at Tampa General Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Institute ensure a highly individualized approach to treating patients with AFib. For certain patients, atrial fibrillation treatment may require surgery. These candidates include patients with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • AFib that persists after optimal treatment with medications
  • Unsuccessful catheter ablation
  • Blood clots in the left atrium
  • History of stroke
  • Enlarged left atrium
  • Other conditions requiring heart surgery

MAZE Procedure to Treat Atrial Fibrillation

The surgical MAZE procedure can be performed traditionally with a technique in which precise surgical scars are created in the left and right atria. It may also be performed using newer technologies designed to create lines of conduction block with radiofrequency, microwave, laser, ultrasound, or cryothermy (freezing). With these techniques, lesions and ultimately scar tissue are created to block the abnormal electrical impulses from being conducted through the heart and to promote the normal conduction of impulses through the proper pathway.

The MAZE procedure is reserved for patients who have atrial fibrillation and need open heart surgery for a heart valve repair/replacement and/or a coronary artery bypass to treat other heart problems (such as valve disease or coronary artery disease). Virtually all surgical approaches include excision or exclusion of the atrial appendage. The left atrial appendage is a small, ear-shaped tissue flap located in the left atrium. This tissue is a potential source of blood clots in patients who have atrial fibrillation. During surgical procedures to treat AFib, the left atrial appendage is removed and the tissue is closed with a special stapling device. This procedure is performed by cardiothoracic surgeons in close collaboration with the electrophysiologists.

World-Class Atrial Fibrillation Surgery at TGH

To schedule an appointment with the Heart and Vascular Institute, call 813-844-3900 or email

At TGH, we understand that effectively treating patients who have AFib with surgical means starts with our multidisciplinary team of experts. Electrophysiologists, cardiologists and many other heart specialists work together to determine which procedures are best for patients based on their medical condition and needs. In some cases, non-surgical, minimally invasive atrial fibrillation treatments can be used.