IS THERE STILL A ROLE FOR THE CLASSICAL COX-MAZE III?

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Abstract

Background

The incidence of surgery for atrial fibrillation (AF) is rising, paralleled by an increase in the types of lesion sets and energy sources used. These alternate energy sources have simplified the surgery at the expense of increased cost of consumables. The classical Cox-Maze III is the gold standard therapy with a proven efficacy in curing AF. Our complete experience with this procedure is presented.

Methods

All 28 patients undergoing the classical Cox-Maze III procedure at our institution underwent preoperative assessment and were followed prospectively.

Results

Twenty-eight patients underwent the Cox-Maze III procedure between January 2001 and May 2003. Their mean age was 65 years (range, 44–80 years). Twenty-five patients had concomitant cardiac procedures. Mean duration of AF was 8.3 years. Permanent AF was present in 82%. Mean follow-up time was 15 ± 8 months (range, 4–30 months). There were no perioperative or late deaths, or thromboembolic events. Sixty-one per cent had early (<3 months) atrial arrhythmia. Freedom from AF at most recent clinical follow up was 93%. Freedom from late atrial arrhythmia was 82%. Freedom from late AF or atrial flutter by pacemaker interrogation or Holter assessment was 77%. Anti-arrhythmic medication use was reduced. New York Heart Association class improved from an average of 2.8 preoperatively to 1.3 postoperatively.

Conclusion

The result of the present study shows the safety and efficacy of the classical Cox-Maze III procedure. With the advantage of proven long-term efficacy, demonstrable safety and avoidance of costly technology, the Cox-Maze III should not be discounted as a treatment option in patients because of its perceived complexity.

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