The Cox maze procedure is the most effective surgical treatment for atrial fibrillation; however, its complexity has limited its clinical utility. The purpose of this study was to simplify the procedure by using an irrigated bipolar radiofrequency ablation device on the beating heart without cardiopulmonary bypass.Six domestic pigs underwent median sternotomy. The pulmonary veins were circumferentially ablated. Electrical isolation was confirmed by pacing. Eight lesions were performed epicardially, and three lesions were performed through purse-string sutures with one of the jaws of the device introduced into the right atrium. After 30 days, magnetic resonance imaging was performed to assess atrial function, pulmonary vein anatomy, and coronary artery patency. Cholinergic stimulation and burst pacing were administered to induce atrial fibrillation. Histologic assessment of the heart was performed after the animal was killed.A modified Cox maze procedure was successfully performed with the irrigated bipolar radiofrequency device with no deaths. In every instance, the pulmonary veins were electrically isolated. Cholinergic stimulation with burst pacing failed to produce atrial fibrillation. Imaging studies revealed tricuspid regurgitation without evidence of pulmonary vein stenosis, coronary artery stenosis, or intra-atrial thrombus. Total atrial ejection fraction was 16.9% +/- 7.5%, a significant reduction. Histologically, 99% of the lesions were transmural, and there was no evidence of coronary sinus injury.Lesions on both the right and left atria can be created successfully on the beating heart with irrigated bipolar radiofrequency. The great majority of lesions with this device were transmural. This device should not be used on valvular tissue.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2006.05.048
View details for Web of Science ID 000240954600016
View details for PubMedID 17000297