Cardiac surgery for arrhythmias

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2004 Feb;27(2):266-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.2004.00426.x.


Cardiac arrhythmia surgery was initiated in 1968 with the first successful division of an accessory AV connection for the Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. Subsequent surgical procedures included the left atrial isolation procedure and the right atrial isolation procedure for automatic atrial tachycardias, discrete cryosurgery of the AV node for AV nodal reentry tachycardia, the atrial transection procedure, corridor procedure and Maze procedure for atrial fibrillation, the right ventricular disconnection procedure for arrhythmogenic right ventricular tachycardia, the encircling endocardial ventriculotomy, subendocardial resection procedure, endocardial cryoablation, the Jatene procedure, and the Dor procedure for ischemic ventricular tachycardia. Because of monumental strides in the treatment of most refractory arrhythmias by endocardial catheter techniques during the past decade, the only remaining viable surgical procedures for cardiac arrhythmias are the Maze procedure for atrial fibrillation and the Dor procedure for ischemic ventricular tachycardia. Nevertheless, the 25-30 years of intense activity in the field of cardiac arrhythmia surgery provided the essential foundation for the development of these catheter techniques and represent one of the most exciting and productive eras in the history of medicine. In one short professional career, we have witnessed the birth of arrhythmia surgery, its adolescence as an "esoteric" specialty, its prime as an enlightening yet exhausting period, and finally its waning years as a source of knowledge and wisdom on which better methods of treatment have been founded. One could hardly ask for a more rewarding experience.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / history*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / surgery
  • Atrial Fibrillation / history
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Tachycardia / history
  • Tachycardia / surgery
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome / history
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome / surgery