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w w w . s t h e l e n a h o s p i t a l s . o r g | 7



For help getting A-Fib under

control, call 855.222.2342 or


How a hybrid

maze works

Dr. Dunnington says the hybrid maze

procedure may be a good option for

people who, like Blendu, have tried other

treatments without success. But often they

and their doctors aren’t aware a next-step

treatment exists.

“We can take people who’ve been in A-Fib

for decades and get them back into normal

rhythm, and they just feel phenomenally

better,” Dr. Dunnington says.

Finishing fast without A-Fib

Not long after her hybrid maze, Blendu

was literally up and running. Not only did

she run her first marathon, but in June

she finished her fastest Half Ironman yet—

shaving 27 minutes off her personal best.

And for the first time in years, Blendu is

living free of her limiting A-Fib regimen.

She only wishes her father, who lived with

A-Fib for 40 years, had known about the

procedure. With her A-Fib under control,

Blendu can put all of her heart into her

sport and her life.

“I have not been in A-Fib at all,” she says,

the emotion in her voice clear. “I cannot

tell you how happy I am.”

It’s been amazing.

I have been off of heart

medications for a year.

I never would have thought

that was possible.

—Jenni Blendu



Using several small incisions for cameras

and tools, a surgeon uses radio wave

energy to create scar lines on the surface

of the heart. This forces the heart’s

electrical signals to follow a path that will

create a normal heart rhythm.

“Basically, we’re trying to keep the heart

from short-circuiting,” Dr. Dunnington

says. “You want the natural electrical

pathway to be maintained so that the

current cannot circle on itself. You force

it in the correct direction.”

Because both procedures are minimally

invasive, there is less pain and usually

a much faster recovery than traditional

open-heart surgery.



Several weeks later, an

electrophysiologist inserts a catheter into

a small incision in the groin and threads

it up to the heart. Then radio waves are

used to create more scar lines, this time

inside the heart. This reinforces the path

created by the first procedure.

Gan Dunnington, MD