Skåne University Hospital unique in Sweden with keyhole surgery for treating atrial fibrillation

Surgeries at Skåne University Hospital performs keyhole surgery when treating patients with long-term atrial fibrillation.
Skåne University Hospital is the only hospital in Sweden that performs keyhole surgeries on patients with long-term atrial fibrillation, or changes to the heart atria. Not only does this treatment cure atrial fibrillation, it also causes less pain and helps the patient to recover quickly – unlike other conventional surgical techniques.

The first patient that underwent the new surgical technique at Skåne University Hospital had previously been through several other types of treatments. However, the atrial fibrillation kept coming back.

– The patient was understandably very frustrated. Luckily, we at Skåne University Hospital had started to work with a new type of treatment in collaboration with surgical experts from the Netherlands, says Shabab Nozohoor, thoracic surgeon and consultant.

Treatment based on keyhole technique

The patient became the first at Skåne University Hospital to have a so called endoscopic maze operation, TT-MAZE, which is completely based on keyhole technique.

– This is a relatively new technique, where patients with intractable atrial fibrillation gets a good treatment without us having to use open-heart surgery, says David Mörtsell, cardiologist and assistant consultant.

Reduces risk of stroke

During the operation, the surgeon enters the heart through small holes at the side of the patient’s chest. While securing a normal cardiac rhythm, the treatment also significantly reduces the risk of a heart-caused stroke.

– Most blood clots that make their way to the brain originates from the left atrial appendage. So when we treat the atrial fibrillation, we also close the left atrial appendage, says Shabab Nozohoor.

Patients recover more quickly

Afterwards, the patient is in less pain and recovers more quickly than after an open-heart surgery. The first patient that underwent the new keyhole surgery at Skåne University Hospital has had a normal cardiac rhythm ever since. 

– This method is a great example of how an extended collaboration between different specialists at Skåne University Hospital can push the medical boundaries and help more patients, says David Mörtsell. 

What is atrial fibrillation?

  • Atrial fibrillation means that the heart is beating irregular and faster than normal, decreasing the heart’s blood-pumping efficiency.
  • Atrial fibrillation is a common cause of stroke. This is because the fibrillation weakens the blood circulation in the atria, which increases the risk of blood clots.