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GALAXY Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation


Bipolar ablation device for GALAXY procedure

Do I need surgery?
Ablation of isolated atrial fibrillation should be considered if catheter-based ablation has failed. Surgery should also be considered if the atrial fibrillation is resistant to cardioversion or anti-arrhythmic therapies. Patients that cannot tolerate anticoagulation or antiarrhythmic medications are also candidates for the GALAXY procedure.

The GALAXY (Gemini-S Ablation and Left Atrial Appendage Exclusion) procedure is a revolutionary, minimally invasive operation developed at Intermountain Medical Center. The procedure is designed to treat atrial fibrillation without the use of the heart-lung machine and with smaller, less painful incisions. Also known as the "mini-Maze" operation, the GALAXY procedure utilizes specialized equipment and technology.

A small 2-3 inch incision is made in the middle of each side of the chest. Using an operating video camera, catheters and a flexible clamp are placed around the back of the left atrium (Gemini system). Radiofrequency burns are then formed on the left atrium, isolating the irregular impulses of atrial fibrillation. The surface of the heart is also electrically tested to ensure complete elimination of fibrillation. Finally, a thin automatic stapling device is used to remove the left atrial appendage, or the appendage is occluded with an atraumatic permanent clip.

The GALAXY procedure is effective at eliminating atrial fibrillation in over 85% of patients. Removal of the left atrial appendage, which cannot be performed with catheters, also reduces the risk of stroke. Most patients leave the hospital within a few days and are able to return to normal activity within a few weeks. Many patients will be able to discontinue blood-thinning and anti-arrhythmic medications within a few months.