Review Article

Surgery for Cardiac Arrhythmias: Past, Present, Future

Stephen D. Waterford and Niv Ad


There is a rich history of surgery for cardiac arrhythmias, spanning from atrial fibrillation and Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome to inappropriate sinus tachycardia and ventricular tachycardia. This review describes the history of these operations, their evolution over time, and the current state of practice. We devote considerable time to the discussion of atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia addressed by surgeons. We discuss ablation of atrial fibrillation as a stand-alone operation and as a concomitant operation performed at the time of cardiac surgery. We also discuss the emergence of newer procedures to address atrial fibrillation in the past decade, such as the convergent procedure and totally thoracoscopic ablation, and their outcomes relative to historic approaches such as the Cox maze procedure.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2024;15(1):e0002