Background: Although the MAZE procedure allows for the recovery of sinus rhythm and left atrial (LA) mechanical function in the great majority of patients with chronic atrial fibrillation (AF), the effects of MAZE on the precise LA geometry and wall motion remain to be elucidated. We hypothesized that LA size and mechanical function in patients with chronic AF and mitral valvular disease are well restored after MAZE.
Methods and results: We studied 14 patients (MAZE group: mean+/-SD age, 63.9+/-8.6 years; 8 men and 6 women) who underwent MAZE for chronic AF and mitral valve surgery and 10 patients with sinus rhythm (coronary artery bypass graft [CABG] group: age, 70.0+/-7.9 years; 5 men and 5 women) who underwent CABG at Takeda Hospital between February 2002 and September 2005. MAZE was conducted by the endocardial application of radiofrequency ablation with a temperature-controlled multipolar radiofrequency catheter. LA volume and booster function were quantitatively evaluated by multislice computed tomography at 17.9+/-10.0 months (MAZE group) and 15.3+/-13.6 months (CABG group) postoperatively. All patients with MAZE were free of AF and other atrial arrhythmias during the follow-up period. In the CABG group, LA maximal and minimal volumes and ejection fraction were 109+/-12 mL, 82+/-11 mL, and 26+/-10%, respectively. In the MAZE group, LA maximal volume was 139+/-17 mL (P=0.187 versus CABG), and LA minimal volume was 121+/-16 mL (P=0.082 versus CABG), with an ejection fraction of 15+/-7% (P=0.004 versus CABG). In both groups, all parts of the LA wall contracted toward the geometric center of the LA. The extent of wall motion was significantly worse in the MAZE group compared with the CABG group. In both groups, LA booster function was inversely correlated with LA maximal volume.
Conclusions: MAZE with radiofrequency ablation is safe and effective for the restoration of sinus rhythm in patients with chronic AF and mitral valve disease. However, chronic AF associated with mitral valve disease deteriorates LA mechanical function diffusely throughout the LA wall. Further studies with the use of multislice computed tomography are needed to sequentially evaluate LA function after MAZE in patients with and without mitral valve surgery.