Objective: Atrial fibrillation (AF) has been shown in numerous studies to significantly decrease patient’s quality of life. The Cox-Maze procedure has excellent long-term efficacy in curing AF. However, it is unknown whether this procedure improves long-term quality of life in these patients. The purpose of this study was to examine late quality of life in patients who underwent a lone Cox-Maze procedure.
Methods: Between 1987 and 2003, 163 patients underwent a Cox-Maze procedure for lone AF at our institution. Of these, 68 patients agreed and completed the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 Health Survey. Scores from the age-matched general U.S. population were normalized to a mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10 to facilitate comparison. Collected data were compared with the norm-based score for each domain using a one-sample t test. Four patients were removed from the analysis because of AF recurrence.
Results: There were 52 males (81%). Mean age was 52.6 ± 9.5 years. Preoperatively, 37 patients (58%) had paroxysmal and 25 patients (39%) had persistent or permanent AF. The mean duration of AF before surgery was 9.8 ± 8.2 years. There was no statistical difference in norm-based scores between the Cox-Maze procedure group and the age-matched general U.S. population in any of the eight health domains at a mean follow-up of 8.7 ± 3.7 years.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that the Cox-Maze procedure cures AF in the majority of patients, and that those patients who are cured had a normal quality of life when compared with the general population at late follow-up.