|WHAT IS ATRIAL FLUTTER?|
|ATRIAL FLUTTER CAUSES|
|SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ATRIAL FLUTTER|
|DIAGNOSTIC INVESTIGATIONS OF ATRIAL FLUTTER|
|ATRIAL FLUTTER TREATMENT|
1. What is Atrial Flutter?
Atrial flutter occurs when the electrical impulses form a circuit on top of the right atria (upper chambers of the heart), causing it to beat much rapidly than normally at approximately 300 beats per minute (bpm) instead of the normal 60-90 bpm. The impulses from the top chamber do not quite conduct in a 1:1 manner to the ventricles (pumping chambers at the bottom of the heart), which typically conduct at 150 or 100 bpm, giving you this fixed increased pulse rate.
Thus, the atrial (filling chambers at the top) and ventricles (pumping chambers at bottom) beat at different speeds, reducing the efficiency of the heart pump, and increasing the risk of stroke, owing to pooling of blood and potential formation of clots within the atrial chambers, and the atrial appendage. If the blood clot breaks off and lodges in an artery supplying the brain, then a stroke occurs.
Note that there is similarity in Atrial Flutter and Atrial Fibrillation (AF), and both of these can coexist in patients, as the risk factors are similar for both. However, unlike AF, atrial flutter is due to a single abnormal short circuit in the right atria (upper chamber).
Another distinction is that your heart beats unusually fast albeit in a regular pattern. When read in a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), a diagnostic test that checks your heart rhythm, a “sawtooth” pattern is seen which allows a clear diagnosis to be made. Fortunately, atrial flutter is almost always curable by a catheter ablation procedure with >95% success rates.