Purpose of Technology: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a supraventricular, accelerated heart rhythm characterized by uncoordinated atrial activation that leads to inefficient, irregular atrial contraction. Surgical techniques for the treatment of AF can be broadly categorized into open heart procedures and minimally invasive procedures. The minimally invasive approach involves several small keyhole incisions in the intercostal spaces on either side of the chest cavity to allow entry of several devices, including a surgical camera used to guide the procedure and an energy source for ablation.

Controversy: While minimally invasive surgical (MIS) procedures have the advantage of minimal surgical dissection and accelerated recovery, limitations include the inability to map and isolate the source of AF and the necessity of transmural ablation lines, which can be difficult to achieve due to varying thickness of cardiac tissue.

Relevant Questions: 

* Are MIS ablation procedures effective for treating AF?

* Are MIS ablation procedures for treating AF safe?

* Have definitive patient selection criteria been established for use of MIS ablation procedures for treatment of AF?

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