By Professor Eugene Sim
Consultant Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgeon
Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition in which irregular heart beats result in the patient feeling tired, having palpitations and more serious cases may result in strokes.
With the introduction of a minimally invasive surgery to treat atrial fibrillation, the electrical impulses causing irregular heartbeats can be disrupted. Traditionally, the surgical treatment known as Cox-Maze procedure, requires a major operation. Doctors would have to crack the breastbone and stop the heart. This new procedure – thoracoscopic micro gaze – can be completed by making three small incisions (keyholes) in the chest and typically, the patient can go home in one to two days’ time.
The procedure takes about two hours using general anesthesia. The heart lung machine as in traditional open-heart surgery becomes unnecessary. The risk of complications with the thoracoscopic micro gaze procedure is much less than those associated with open heart surgeries.